This is a list of the larger country parks in Essex. We also have a listing of Essex Gardens (see the main menu).

Belhus Woods Country Park
Romford Road, Aveley, South Ockenden, RM15 4XJ
Phone: 01708 865628
“This diverse landscape of ancient woodland, grassland and lakes is managed by Essex County Council Ranger Service and situated within Thames Chase Community Forest. It includes newly planted areas of woodland owned by the Woodland Trust and Forestry Commission. The park was originally part of the Belhus Estate, home of the Barrett and Lennard families from the 15th to the 20th Century. The grounds were designed by ‘Capability Brown’ and work carried out by Richard Woods. Some areas of woodland are managed by the rangers on a traditional coppice rotation.”
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Cudmore Grove Country Park
Bromans Lane, East Mersea, CO5 8UE
Phone: 0845 603 7624
A sandy beach and lots of grassland, and plenty of options for walks.
Essex Days Out Tips : Close to Mersea Island Vineyard and Brewery! We drove to Cudmore Grove with our bikes on the back of the car, parked up, and cycled all the way from Cudmore Grove on the eastern end of East Mersea to the far western end of West Mersea – with a few stops for refreshment : click here for the article, with maps and photos.
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Danbury Country Park
Woodhill Road, Danbury, CM3 4AN
Phone: 0845 603 7624
“Danbury Country Park is set within the grounds of Danbury Palace and offers a blend of ornamental gardens and lakes, together with adjoining woodland and meadows.
A few historical structures survive within the boundaries of the park including the ice house where, before refrigerators, ice would have been collected from the lakes during the winter and stored for use in the kitchens of the palace.”
Essex Days Out Tips : The Cricketers is a Shepherd Neame pub nearby with good beer and food. Also close to Danbury Common.
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Great Notley Country Park
Great Notley, CM77 6RX
Phone: 0845 603 7624
“Great Notley Country Park covers some 100 acres of open space, which is managed for the benefit of wildlife and the community. The site was formally arable farmland and has been transformed into a mixture of wetland and open grassland. Each of these habitats provides a haven for a variety of species. The park includes a number of mature species of native trees. Elsewhere, bats have made their homes in the grassland and wildflower meadows. Walking, cycling, jogging and horse riding can all be enjoyed in the park and beyond with its links to the Flitch Way in the north and the bridleway in the south.”
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Hadleigh Country Park
Chapel Lane, Hadleigh, SS7 2PP
Phone: 01702 551072
“Hadleigh Country Park is one of the largest country parks in Essex. It takes its name from nearby Hadleigh Castle, an impressive ruin of a fortress built over 700 years ago. It’s a great place to walk, picnic, or discover wildlife and one of the best places in Essex to see butterflies. It is also home to reptiles, which can sometimes be seen in the mornings warming themselves on the sunny slopes, whilst winter brings flocks of birds, such as geese and waders, to the marshes to feed. Visitors can explore by following one of the self-guided trails from Chapel Lane taking in some impressive views as they go – where else in Essex can you see Kent, Canvey, Southend Pier, Canary Warf and the Dartford Bridge all from the same place?”
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High Woods Country Park
Turner Road, Colchester, CO4 5JR
Phone: 01206 855287 Email: countryside@colchester.gov.uk
One of Colchester’s beauty spots, the Country Park includes woodland, open spaces (ideal for picnics) a lake and wildflower meadows. Along with marshy areas, hayfields and scrubland, High Woods provides the right habitat for thousands of different birds and mammals. It’s free for humans too. A large park with lots of options for walking, cycling and fishing. A number of activities for all ages, and a visitors centre. 10 minutes walk from Colchester North Station.
Essex Days Out Tips – There is now a charge for the car park (to deter people parking them when visiting the hospital). There is a shop and toilets by the car park!
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Hylands House and Estate
London Road, Chelmsford, CM2 8WQ
Phone: 01245 605500 Email: hylands@chelmsford.gov.uk
In addition to the beautifully restored house dating from 1730, there are 574 acres of parkland, ponds and gardens, a stableyard, visitors centre, with working horses and events, workshops and activities.
Essex Days Out Tips – Plenty to look out for in the gardens – watch out for the mole!
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Marsh Farm Country Park
Marsh Farm Road, South Woodham Ferrers, CM3 5WP
Phone: 01245 321552
The country park is an ideal place to stretch your legs and explore the scenic riverside paths along the sea wall. The grazing marshes of the park were created by the Dutch during the 17th century when they drained the marshes and built the sea wall. Marsh Farm Country Park is not connected to the Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park.
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Thorndon Country Park
The Avenue, Brentwood, CM13 3RZ
Phone: 01277 211250
“This beautiful country park contains a diverse range of habitats and is managed both for people and for its precious wildlife. A surfaced track connects the wooded and heathland areas of Thorndon North with the more open parkland of Thorndon South. The path runs through the Old Park, an area owned and managed as a traditional wood pasture by the Woodlands Trust, and is designed to be used by all, whether on foot, cycle, mobility scooter or horse.”
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Wat Tyler Country Park
Pitsea Hall Lane, Pitsea, Basildon, SS16 4UH
Phone: 01268 550088 Email: info@wattylercountrypark.org.uk
“The Wat Tyler Project is transforming the Park, with its legacy of historic buildings and fascinating wildlife, into a centre of excellence and regional destination of choice for over 350,000 visitors each year, where people and families can relax, play and learn.”
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Weald Country Park
South Weald, Brentwood, CM14 5QS
“The park landscape at Weald has been sculptured over time, from deer park to formal gardens and lakes. Little remains of the great hall that once overlooked the parkland that you see today. The site of the hall is now covered by the Belvedere car park, but from here you can discover some brick steps that would have led to the gardens and the base of the Belvedere – a tower built to admire the views down to the lake, used, at one time, as a family museum by the Tower family.”
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