Oakfield Park Gardens Donegal – Oakfield Park is a privately owned house set in 100 acres of magnificent parkland, woodlands and gardens near the town of Raphoe in the heart of County Donegal. The gardens are open to the public between May and August. There is also a miniature private railway that winds its way over 4km of track within the estate.
Gardens open 1st May to 1st September 2013;Wednesday to Sunday (plus Bank Holidays), 12 to 6pm.
T: +353 (0)74 9173068
Oakfield Park was originally built as the Deanery for Raphoe Cathedral in 1739. This beautifully restored house is set in a lush landscape of parklands and mature woodlands, overlooking the distant Croaghan Mountain.
The magnificent grounds include a traditional walled garden and kitchen garden, flower meadows lakes and streams, as well as wetland areas. In 2009 a new nymphaem was added to the grounds– this is an ancient Greek or Roman style monument through which water flows.
In the 1950s Oakland Park was effectively stripped of all its oak trees by a previous owner. This has now thankfully been reversed and over 60,ooo trees have been lovingly planted by the current owners with a mixture of hollies, limes, a lot of beech, chestnuts and, of course, oak. In fact there is up to 140 species of oak now planted.
The restoration and improvements at Oakfield Park are certainly bearing fruit. In 2006 it won the Viking Irish Garden of the year and in 2007 it was a runner-up in the Country Life Genius of the Place award.
A hugely popular feature of Oakfield Park is a wonderful miniature railway This railway is based on the now defunct Co. Donegal Railways. Over 4km of track has been laid and the narrow gauge railway has a miniature steam engine and carriages in the old CDR livery.
The train winds around the lake and woodlands and offers an excellent opportunity to view the lower gardens in comfort.It should be noted that rides are available on Saturdays and Sundays only. Tickets and departure times are available from the station. Recently a 108 year old law was invoked which will permit alcohol to be sold at the station.
There are two trains operating at Oakfield Park – The Earl of Oakfield diesel locomotive and the Duchess of Difflin steam engine.
A Santa Express usually runs in early December each year. This special train is for local schools, playgroups and Special Needs groups only. If you would like to book your school in for a Christmas train ride and a visit to Santa in the Castle please phone 074 9173068 and leave your details.
In the gardens of Oakfield Park the visitor can discover willow tunnels, oak circles, boardwalks, a par terre and a classical Nymphaeum by the formal lake. The gardens include:-
- Formal Walled garden & Kitchen Garden
- Parkland, Woodland and Riverside Walks
- Abundant Wildlife
- Train Rides (Saturday & Sunday only)
- Garden Group Tours by arrangement
- Picnic Benches
- Free Car Parking
During the summer season only the gardens are open to the public.
The house is private.
Irish Times Review
“To call the gardens at Oakfield Park impressive is rather like stating that Messi is good at football. Part-restored old garden, part-new project, this is grand scale gardening, almost unique on the island.
The flower gardens, walled kitchen gardens and box gardens will win over the fussiest control-freak gardener. The woods and sweeping lawns leading down to newly-built boating ponds complete with stone temples are impressive.
Add more man-made lakes, willow tunnels, wild flower meadows, viewing towers, mounds and wetlands, and then throw in a narrow gauge model railway with diesel and steam trains on 5km of tracks. Phew. Set aside a full day.”
Oakfield Park, Trains and the Percy French Connection
Location Map for Oakfield Park Gardens Donegal