The Downs Trail

The Downs Trail is a new footpath just inside the perimeter of the estate. It runs alongside parts of the 13th and 14th holes of the Coronation Course, starting in the woodland, passing by the reservoir and joining the bridleway near the 13th tee.

The Trail is open between 7.00am and 10.00pm every day except the day of the Club’s golf championship, Saturday 26 June 2021.

This route is only open on a trial basis and the consultation period ends on 31 August.

We would very much appreciate your feedback by email to communications@royalautomobileclub.co.uk. All feedback is welcome but please try to be specific: what has gone well or hasn’t, where and when.

Everyone who provides feedback during the consultation period (until 31 August) will be entered into a draw for a free meal in the Fountain Brasserie.

Information for Golfers

The route is only open on a trial basis and the consultation period ends on 31 August 2021. We would very much appreciate your feedback by email to communications@royalautomobileclub.co.uk

Downs Trail Map

The Club’s 2015 development plan set the goal to ‘transform Woodcote Park into a true, family-friendly country club’. Over recent years the Club has:

  • invested in the golf courses, including in the new reservoir and irrigation system
  • refurbished almost all areas of the clubhouse, including the 19th Hole and, most recently, the Fountain Terrace
  • created a new car park and upgraded roads and paths
  • restored and developed the woodland into an enjoyable outdoor space
  • constructed the new family facilities in the Walled Garden.

As a result, Woodcote Park is becoming a destination which can be enjoyed by all the Club’s members and their families and guests. One of Woodcote Park’s delights is its location, and this new footpath will enable members to make the most of that, whether for a short walk within the estate or a longer one beyond.

The route has been independently risk assessed and also reviewed for health and safety by course architect Tom Mackenzie, with the risk of an incident assessed as low. Safety information for walkers and golfers is provided on this website, on leaflets and on information boards along the route.

Rules for Golfers

  • Do not play if there is a Trail user visible and in range of the shot. If you are acknowledged by a Trail user and waved on to play, you may then do so. Trail users have right of way.
  • Ensure the copse of trees to the left of the 14th hole is clear of Trail users before playing. This copse is out of bounds and will be defined by white posts and a white line.
  • Shout ‘fore’ if a ball is heading in the direction of the Trail even if you don’t see any Trail users present.
  • The Trail is marked by white and green posts and is deemed an integral part of the course, unless within the afore mentioned out of bounds area. Balls finishing on the Trail should be played as they lie with the white and green posts being moveable obstructions. A moveable obstruction means that if your ball, stance, or area of intended swing is affected by the marker post, you may move the post out the way, take your shot, and replace the post.
  • Any health and safety incidents must be reported to a member of staff as soon as possible, as normal.

Consultation and Evaluation

This route is only open on a trial basis and the consultation period ends on 31 August. We would very much appreciate your feedback by email to communications@royalautomobileclub.co.uk. All feedback is welcome but please try to be specific: what has gone well or hasn’t, where and when.

All feedback will be recorded for the evaluation (and actions taken in the meantime if necessary). In addition, at the end of August an email with a survey will be sent to members who are golf passholders, have used the golf courses, live near Woodcote Park or who have stayed overnight during the trial period.

The Downs Trail Working Group will then evaluate the trial and make a recommendation to the Woodcote Park Committee based upon:

  • the severity of any health and safety incidents, the likelihood of a reoccurrence and whether the identified risk(s) can be mitigated
  • the impact of any incidents which have disrupted play, the likelihood of reoccurrence and whether that likelihood can be reduced through mitigating measures
  • the level of use of the Trail
  • the level of satisfaction expressed by Trail users.

After the Trial and Consultation

There are a number of possible outcomes.

If the trial is successful, the Club will extend the route around the perimeter of the Coronation Course to the top of the Captain’s Drive, providing a two-mile walking circuit within the estate. Much of this extended route follows existing footpaths or the Captain’s Drive.

The trial may also identify additional measures which should be taken to make the route appropriate for walkers and acceptable to golfers, or the Trail may be closed altogether.