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“beautiful place”

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, Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities
Billericay, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
40 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“beautiful place”
Reviewed 1 July 2014

children love to explore here, and the gruffalo is always popular. nice to stop for a snack or ice cream at the shop, peaceful in the woods, and nice to feel you're away from it all.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
Thank Elizabeth B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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291 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
40 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Gruffalo Trail”
Reviewed 1 July 2014 via mobile

Excellent for the toddler early years school children! There are actual wooden sculptures of the characters hidden in the woods. Buy a map from the visitor centre for 50p and let the children lead the way. Loved it as much as the kids!

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank LadyJ371
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Basildon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“car parking charges”
Reviewed 30 June 2014

Thorndon park is a beautiful place lots of walks some for the fit and some for the not so fit depending really how far you would like to walk,some trails are longer then others,we often take our dogs hear and they enjoy thorndon just as much as we do,lots of wildlife large pond with ducks witch my granddaughter likes,the only thing that lets this park down for me is the high car parking charges £3.00 every visit.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
5 Thank missfox0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brentwood, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
356 reviews
117 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 472 helpful votes
“A lovely Old Country Park”
Reviewed 22 June 2014

Reading reviews about how busy the park is since the Gruffalo Trail opened is very strange, we are regular users of the park and have been for years, the Gruffalo part is a very small area of a huge country park and ancient woodland, there is enough room for everyone, from runners, cyclists, walkers, familes, nature/birdwatching, fishing, or just enjoy a coffee in the open air, there are several car parks and we have never failed to park, definitely the best Country park in the area.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank stugrmi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Very busy Park”
Reviewed 13 June 2014 via mobile

Weekends can be very busy with dog walkers and children but there is space for all. If you are a keen birder a visit during weekdays is recommended. It is a large site suggest getting a map from the Centre. Very helpful staff in the Centre and the coffee is not bad either. Loads of activities for families and children at reasonable costs. Highly recommended for a nice day out.

Helpful?
Thank John D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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