Thorndon Country Park

Thorndon Country Park, Brentwood: Hours, Address, Thorndon Country Park Reviews: 4.5/5

Thorndon Country Park
4.5
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
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.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Popular mentions

4.5
423 reviews
Excellent
230
Very good
129
Average
43
Poor
13
Terrible
8

Diego
London, UK439 contributions
Sunny Thorndon
Apr 2021 • Friends
Really nice park for all ages. Had a lovely walk in the sunshine, what a great day with my wife and friends. Highly recommended.
Written May 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

John A
Brentwood, UK272 contributions
A great location for gentle strolls and more taxing walks
May 2021
A haven during lockdown as a place to have exercise in lovely surroundings even when the weather was poor.
The rangers did a great job keeping the main paths passable in the poor weather although you did need walking boots for many areas.
Now it is returning to normal and it is still great to visit for daily exercise - you can have a short circuit or a longer walk and one often finds new paths to explore.
If you like walking in the woods then it is perfect (and of course they are changing with the seasons) but if you prefer more open spaces then there are plenty at Thorndon South and on the way there from North.
Written May 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Paul D
Chelmsford, UK114 contributions
Terrific @ Thorndon country Park
May 2021 • Friends
We are regular organised walking club, who use this lovely park on a regular basis. Good amenities throughout, many walking trails, beautiful flowers particularly now, as the bluebells are out. Pond side bird hides are in good condition for spotting. Many species of cattle, sheep etc. Cafe and visitor centre are staffed by informed staff, don’t miss out.
Written May 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

nachama o
2 contributions
Not what we expected
Apr 2021 • Family
Gruffalo Trail a big let down.
We drove all the way for the kids to enjoy the gruffalo trail, but it literally is a open space with 5 statues randomley placed. Poorley Signposted, there is no challenge and the trail itself wasn't particularly fun for my 3 and 5 year old. They kept asking me wheres the park??? Why aren't the statues real? I wana see a real graffalo. I can't a expect a real grafalo but unfortunately there wasnt even a park. I was very surprised a piece of greenery that big cant invest in a small childrens playing area, after all the grafalo area was created to entice children. Was a big let down.

The park itself was beautiful and I personally enjoyed walking around, the fresh air and taking a picnic. The onsite toilets were decent and parking was the only thing we needed to pay for. The walk was very Buggy accessible but we would have no reason to come back.
Written April 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

phil63
London, UK8 contributions
Beautiful Area
Apr 2021 • Solo
Thorndon Park was my play area as a kid in the 50s-60s. Absolutely beautiful area which extends right up to Brentwood if you know the way.
Don't mention I said this but if you don't mind walking you could always park up in The Meadows, St Nicholas Grove or Middle Road in Ingrave where there are no parking restrictions, then walk along Thorndon Gate towards Thorndon Hall and pickup Public Footpath 42 and turn of that to the left just before the path towards Childerditch Common. It will take you to Old Hall Pond in Thorndon Park. (see Google maps)
I remember the ruins of Old Hall near the pond, wonder if they're still there?
Have fun. 😉
Written April 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Zapstar67
London, UK1,540 contributions
Lots to see
Oct 2020 • Family
Much bigger than you realise, two car parks and also by the road. There is the obvious Gruffalo trail for the youngsters but plenty more if you’re a bit more adventurous. There is also a mountain bike centre during the summer. The car park is a bit expensive and there could be better signage to get you to explore further afield. Nice cafe and shop
Written October 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Neil E
Romford, UK66 contributions
Lovely but....
Oct 2020 • Family
Visited the South part of the country park. This is a lovely place to visit and there is dog agility course. However the parking charges are terribly high (we should be encouraging people to access nature and walks not penalise them) plus the park cafe was closed.
Written October 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Victoria
London, UK27 contributions
Beautiful place
Sep 2020 • Family
Lovely place for a family day trip. I suggest to buy the Gruffalo trail map at the shop, kids would love to find the characters looking at the map. There is also a picnic area where to have lunch and food can be brought also from outside. The place is very relaxing
Written September 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Joti J
4 contributions
Great location
Sep 2020 • Family
Great place for families ! It’s all woodland and great for kids 2 plus, the surface is obviously not great for prams
Written September 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Karen Storer
2 contributions
Exorbitant parking charges
Aug 2020
Lovely country park but feel that excessive car park fees will definitely deter us from coming as frequently as we would like. No concessions for pensioners. Also as a fully paid up member of Essex Wildlife trust it would be nice to be given some concession as I believe the park is partly owned by the trust.
Written August 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 423
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing