Sometimes I visit a new park for the first time and it goes beyond anything I was expecting. The Rye park in High Wycombe is all that and more. Slap bang in High Wycombe city centre, The Rye offers up 53 acres of amazing space to explore. Not only that but it has everything from a little waterfall with stepping stones to not one but two play parks, an outdoor pool and so much more.
The Rye is a great place to get away from the bustle of High Wycombe city centre and could easily be a quick trip or you could spend the best part of a day here. We parked at the Holymead pay and display car park next to the Wycombe Rye Lido. Parking is pretty reasonable starting at 50p for a couple of hours (as of visit in July 2020). We started our mini adventure by joining the path that runs alongside The Dyke.
This beautiful stretch of water is wonderfully calm and was part of the landscaping of the Wycombe Abbey grounds by Capability Brown. There are ducks on the water but worth noting before you go that they ask you not to feed them as it detrimental to the water quality, wildlife and increases the problem of rats eek!
Waterfall & Stepping Stones at the Rye High Wycombe
As we reached the far end of The Dyke my son could hear rushing water. We were so impressed to find a little waterfall. It might be small but it was perfectly sized for my 3 year old to get excited about.
The water at the bottom is really shallow with small pebbles and a ideal for toe dipping paddling like we did as the day was so warm. We visited on a hot sunny Sunday and I thought this spot would be packed but actually there was only the odd family here and there arriving or leaving and we had it to ourselves for a little bit too. As we were leaving, one family had their wellies on which I thought was a great idea as you could easily come here for a paddle in any season even if you didn’t want to get wet.
Cycling at The Rye High Wycombe
Running right along the opposite side of The Dyke is a great family cycle path. Smooth, paved and marked to separate wheels from walkers, it would be an ideal place to learn to ride a bike in High Wycombe, go for a scoot or a pushchair friendly walk. There are lots of nicely paved paths all around the large grassy area of The Rye too making it ideal to extend your biking.
I was a complete numpty and had left my little one’s bike in the boot of the car having been distracted about finding the toilets when we arrived. It’s quite a long walk all the way to the other end of the park (for little legs) and there are no bridges along the walk to cut it short. Saying that, we managed fine with a little bit of a piggy back and not surprisingly he was suddenly full of energy when the play park was spotted.
Boating at The Rye park High Wycombe
Right at the opposite end to the car park and toilets but closest to the city centre is a little refreshment cafe selling ice cream with tables outside and boat hire. There was a sign on one of the row boats saying £10 for half hour (July 2020). If you’re on the hunt for refreshments, an ice cream van often appears on busy days too.
Play Parks at The Rye High Wycombe
The first play park we came across was Ropes on the River play park located very close to the boathouse and refreshment cafe. A great wooden play park to discover with slides and walkways, it’s most suited to children confident on their feet, little ones might need a bit a of hand from parents. I also noticed at one end that they have a wheel chair accessible ramp up to the first viewing platform.
There’s also a couple of big ground level trampolines for good old bounce. The space around The Rye is fantastic in it’s own right. Masses of open grassy fields and shaded spots under the trees so if you are looking for a great place for a family picnic or to throw around a Frisbee this is the park to go to.
Back at the other end of The Rye and closer to the car park is another play park. On first glance from a distance I didn’t think this one was much of anything but in actual fact we had a great time there. It’s best suited to younger or primary aged kids with plenty of space between equipment and more of the traditional playground attractions. Wobble boards to balance on, a pirate ship to explore, range of swings and small climbing frames.
There are a number of other attractions and facilities at The Rye. The most notable being the Wycombe Rye Lido, the outdoor pool has been fully refurbished with heated outdoor main pool, heated outdoor children’s pool plus grass and terraced sunbathing areas. They also have a gym and cafe.
Tennis courts and football pitches can also be found at The Rye.
The Rye Facilities, Parking and How to Get There
Holymead Car Park which is the one next to the lido is the only place to park at The Rye itself. It’s pay and display and approached from Bassetsbury Lane, a turning off of the A40 London Road which borders the park. Being close to the centre of High Wycombe, the park is also within walking distance of the train station.
There are free public toilets at the car park which is great but it’s that means it’s quite a distance from the wooden play park right at the opposite end or even for a mad dash directly opposite to the other play park if you’re in the middle of potty training.
Pann Mill & Keep Hill Wood
After I published this review of The Rye, it was great to be contacted by a follower with a little information about nearby Pann Mill. Pann Mill is just near the ice cream van spot. Not officially part of the park but right on the boundary maintained by the High Wycombe Society. For bigger legs there is the Keep Hill wood behind The Ry with has some great walks and orienteering course. It is in places steep, it is called Hill after all!