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“Gruffalo trial” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Thorndon Country Park

Thorndon Country Park
Ranked #1 of 10 Nature & Parks in Brentwood
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: This beautiful country park contains a diverse range of habitats and is managed both for people and for its precious wildlife. There are some fantastic walks through ancient woodland and historic deer parks which lie close alongside recently planted woodland and a landscape of small pastures. Thorndon Countryside Centre is managed by Essex Wildlife Trust and the Park is managed by Essex County Council in a joint venture. Gruffalo Trail Come and see the original Gruffalo Trail - a self-led trail around the woods, searching for carvings of the Gruffalo characters. Gruffalo Activity Maps are available from the Countryside Centre, at a cost of 50p. The countryside centre offers some unique gifts and books, a separate education room, refreshments and displays. There are regular activities for children, schools and families. Few areas offer such variety as Thorndon country park and its surroundings. Ancient woodland and historic deer parks lie close alongside recently planted woodland and a landscape of small pastures, while nearby is the high forest of Hartswood and former common land. Thorndon Country Park is in two parts, the northern section on a gravel ridge and the southern part on clay soil lower down. The two parts are now linked by Old Thorndon Pastures, which is farmland that has been restored to a traditional farming landscape with small hedged fields, grazed by cattle. Thorndon Country Park North In spring, the woodlands of Thorndon North are filled with the scent and colour of bluebells, anemones and other woodland flowers. The woods are rich in birdlife and attract many species of migrant and over-wintering birds including bramblings, siskins and redpolls. Childerditch Pond is both beautiful and tranquil. Please note: Thorndon Country Park North car park is the best way to access the Gruffalo Trail. Thorndon Country Park South The open parkland at Thorndon South is busy with families enjoying barbecues and picnics, whilst drinking in views reaching out across countryside and into the heart of Canary Wharf. It's a great place to fly a kite. Thorndon Country Park offers a variety of habitats including ancient woodland, parkland, ponds, a marsh and meadow. There are some stunning ancient trees including Giant Oak and Hornbeam pollards, that are reminders that this was once a deer park. Parts of it used to be heathland, now a scarce habitat in Essex, and to restore it parts of the park, both north and south, are being grazed by goats and sheep. The park attracts a large number of woodland birds and sees more than its fair share of passage migrants and winter visitors. For example, large flocks of Siskins and Redpolls often gather in the birches, and bramblings can be seen near to the centre feeding on beech mast. There are many butterflies to be enjoyed including the uncommon Purple and White-letter Hairstreaks. The park is managed by Essex County Council's Ranger Service who are returning Conifer plantations to grassland or woodland as mature trees are harvested. The Countryside Centre in Thorndon Park North was built just after the 1987 hurricane and fallen timber from a number of Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserves was used in its construction. It is the Trust's most popular centre with over 100,000 visitors per year, and provides refreshments, a gift shop, displays and interpretation.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase
Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Gruffalo trial”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 April 2014 via mobile

6 adults & 6 children went for a walk in the deep dark wood....... And had the most amazing time. From reading other reviews on here I wasn't expecting the trial to be very long, but your day is what you make of it! Not only is finding the characters lots of fun, the tree climbing, leaf throwing, sticking fighting & muddy puddle splashing side of it all is just as entertaining. We took a large picnic & the picnic area is very well equipped with lots of picnic benches! It really was a fantastic day out!

Visited April 2014
1 Thank Jodie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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272 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Trip to go on the Gruffalo trail”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 April 2014

Do buy the map, children loved it, climbing on the trees, and playing in the make shift camps
The only charge is for car parking, lovely walks and ideal for children to run around and have fun

Visited April 2014
Thank Pauline M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brentwood, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great barbecue area”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2014

I went there with the whole family and for £1.50 per adult to have a barbecue it was a fantastic way to spend the day in beautiful surroundings. There were lots of other families and the atmosphere was friendly and jolly. I loved the drumming and music.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank Brentwoodite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canvey Island, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Fishing lake at Thorndon Park”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 April 2014

Went fishing on Friday 18th April 2014. The lake is a very long walk from the car park which is too far with all the fishing gear needed. We used every flavour bait plus naturals and caught absolutely nothing. There aren't enough swims that can be used and there are trees fallen in the lake which snag the lines. Found it very expensive for a day fishing when other councils charge much less with free parking and it is more than most proper fishing waters. The toilets are too far from the lake. Wouldn't go there again.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank Lorraine D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Overall experience”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 April 2014

Got there at 11:30 to be told car park was full & to go to the other one which would only take 20 minutes to walk back by following the footprints! This walk actually took 1&1/2 hours! (3.4 miles away!) it was a lovely place and good that the cost was only the car park & map..but, the toilets where filth, & it insist that you Get rid of your litter, I had to literally bring it home with me as there was no bins on the grounds! Also whilst at the BBQ area we came across a very sharp knife which I also brought home with me to discard of so no other child would find it! To be fair the place itself is lovely & you can make a good day of it with your picnic etc, just need a bigger car park! I would give it another go but do think the toilets need cleaning more regular & bins need to be put around! Also a little disappointed that the actual gruffalo trail only took about 10 minutes!

Visited April 2014
4 Thank gina b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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