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“Gruffalo woods :)”

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: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Activities for young children, Wheelchair access
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
39 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Gruffalo woods :)”
Reviewed 5 May 2014

Gorgeous woods with the added attraction of the Gruffalo trail. Get there early. Car park is small and soon fills up. Also not enough ladies loo. Queues if busy. Don't leave it til the last minute. The cafe is ok for a drink. Not much in the way of food.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank bagpusstoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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294 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
67 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Great day out for little ones”
Reviewed 4 May 2014 via mobile

We took a 5 year old 2year old and a baby in a buggy. They loved searching for the gruffalo. Lots of branches to balance on, puddles to jump in and generally work off energy. The trail is buggy friendly and the cafe serves teas and also sandwiches etc .. There's also a picnic area and loo's. You need to pay £3 for parking and make sure you take a rubbish bag so you can take your rubbish home with you. Great day out! Oh and the post code above is in correct this will take you to the town hall ! But keep going and you'll see a sign and you turn off right and its on your left. Other postcodes on line are CM13 3RZ

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank Nibs W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
62 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Beautiful park, heavy car park charges”
Reviewed 1 May 2014

It is truly a beautiful park, but I fear I will not return in the near future due to the extremely high parking charges. No wonder no one is fit these days you can't even afford to walk the dog without being fleeced again by the council. All these places should be free we have paid for them time and time again and they were left for free to the Council tobegin with. Sad, sad days!

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Jaques C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Gruffalo trial”
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
Helpful?
1 Thank Jodie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Trip to go on the Gruffalo trail”
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
Helpful?
Thank Pauline M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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