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“beautiful park”

Thorndon Country Park
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, Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase, Activities for young children
Reviewed 16 September 2017

I love going for long walks in this park it's the best the only thing I don't like is the litter that people leave around the park

Thank Amanda V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
thorndoncountrypark, Manager at Thorndon Country Park, responded to this reviewResponded 20 September 2017

Thank you for your kind comment. Our rangers work really hard to keep the park clean.

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Write a ReviewReviews (353)
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"gruffalo trail"
in 126 reviews
"picnic area"
in 24 reviews
"dog walk"
in 5 reviews
"rubbish home"
in 5 reviews
"country park"
in 18 reviews
"great country"
in 5 reviews
"pay and display"
in 6 reviews
"lovely walk"
in 7 reviews
"great outdoors"
in 5 reviews
"fishing lake"
in 5 reviews
"sand pit"
in 8 reviews
"run around"
in 4 reviews
"lovely place to visit"
in 5 reviews
"great for kids"
in 5 reviews
"plenty of space"
in 5 reviews
"nice cafe"
in 4 reviews
"half term"
in 4 reviews
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32 - 36 of 353 reviews

Reviewed 11 September 2017

Don't get me wrong this is a lovely open space for the children to run around, but there are a few things that I would like to mention, firstly on the forestry website it mention grab a gruffalo activity bag for £3, well one would have thought this would have been available here as they have a Gruffalo trail, but no they don't. Secondly Thorndon Country park mentions the car parking charge at £2.20 please note this is only for 1 hours parking, which isn't long enough if you want to explore all the forest and have a picnic. Then onto the picnic area that they advertise but fail to mention, you have to take all your rubbish home with you. This isn't a problem if you know in advance so you can come prepared with a rubbish bag. The children loved climbing on the fallen trees and playing hide and seek. It was a bit muddy but then it's a forest wear wellys. There are toilets near the cafe which was surprisingly clean considering muddy feet are walking all over it.

1  Thank Dyane R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
thorndoncountrypark, Manager at Thorndon Country Park, responded to this reviewResponded 12 September 2017

The Gruffalo trail bags are at Forestry commission parks these are a completely separate company from Essex Country Parks that manage Thorndon. I will bring the car parking charges to the attention of the country parks team to update their website.

We look forward to welcoming you back again soon.

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Reviewed 6 September 2017

Thorndon Park, has something for every one, get away from it walks, long or short walks, great walks for the kids with the gruffalo characters, we are dog walkers and enjoy the park and the cafe too.

Thank pkcmailbox04facebook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
thorndoncountrypark, Manager at Thorndon Country Park, responded to this reviewResponded 20 September 2017

Thanks for the great review.

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Reviewed 6 September 2017

This is a lovely park. We take our puppy for walks there and he loves it.
The car park is very expensive though, about five pounds for 3 hours!
The kids loved it and there is a nice little tea room there. Would recommend a visit

Thank kris5011959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
thorndoncountrypark, Manager at Thorndon Country Park, responded to this reviewResponded 20 September 2017

Thanks for the review. If you are a regular visitor a season ticket might help to save you money on parking. It also covers other country parks. Ask in the visitors Centre for more information.

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Reviewed 2 September 2017 via mobile

Went there for bbq on a Sunday , we had a good time the kids enjoy it a lot , the only think which is not okey is the parking 15£ per car thats way too much , next week we planing to go with friends (3 cars) for a bbq out we definitely going somewhere else

Thank kimkouk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
thorndoncountrypark, Manager at Thorndon Country Park, responded to this reviewResponded 20 September 2017

Glad you enjoyed your visit. Unfortunately we do need to charge for the BBQ area as the cost involved in running it are surprisingly high.The £15 also includes parking which is normally £5 a day.

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