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Thorndon Country Park

The Avenue, Brentwood CM13 3RZ, England
+44 1277 232944
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Review Highlights
Gruffalo Trail at Thorndons Country Park

A lovely day out with the children to get them outdoors. The grounds are lovely, the woodland is... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Kirsty P
,
London, United Kingdom
Great place for families

We are regular visitors to Thorndon due to its lovely walking trails and good facilities. It’s... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Debra S
via mobile
Read all 347 reviews
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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.
  • Excellent58%
  • Very good30%
  • Average9%
  • Poor2%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“gruffalo trail” (124 reviews)
“picnic area” (21 reviews)
“dog walk” (5 reviews)
Open Now
Hours
Hours Today: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Suggested Duration: 2-3 hours
LOCATION
The Avenue, Brentwood CM13 3RZ, England
CONTACT
Website
+44 1277 232944
Write a ReviewReviews (347)
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"gruffalo trail"
in 124 reviews
"picnic area"
in 21 reviews
"dog walk"
in 5 reviews
"rubbish home"
in 5 reviews
"fishing lake"
in 5 reviews
"great country"
in 5 reviews
"country park"
in 16 reviews
"pay and display"
in 6 reviews
"lovely walk"
in 7 reviews
"great outdoors"
in 5 reviews
"run around"
in 4 reviews
"lovely place to visit"
in 5 reviews
"sand pit"
in 6 reviews
"plenty of space"
in 5 reviews
"great for kids"
in 5 reviews
"nice cafe"
in 4 reviews
"half term"
in 4 reviews
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1 - 10 of 347 reviews

Reviewed 1 week ago

A lovely day out with the children to get them outdoors. The grounds are lovely, the woodland is lovely to walk through and get your kids happy to be out in nature away from tv screens and iphones! Trees to climb, lots of wood/bark/tree trunks...More

Thank Kirsty P
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 1 week ago

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. Great to hear you had a lovely day with us and we look forward to welcoming you again soon.

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Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

We are regular visitors to Thorndon due to its lovely walking trails and good facilities. It’s ideal for families of all ages with a Gruffalo theme for young visitors; nature trails and great photography opportunities. There is a lovely refreshment/shop venue and a dedicated picnic...More

Thank Debra S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Love working here usually with a dog or two. It’s kept really well and the new parking area is a big improvement. It’s been well thought out and make Thorndon a nicer place to visit.

Thank s w
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 2 weeks ago

thank you for taking the time to leave a review. Its great to see our car park is making our visitors life easier, we are all very pleased with it here.

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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Paid £5 for all day parking for Gruffalo day. Arrived just before it started but was still setting up and seemed very disorganised. Train ride nice for little one but seemed over so quickly that sure that route could have taken in a bit more...More

Thank Jackie B
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 2 weeks ago

Thanks for taking the time to leave a review. I am sorry to hear you were left disappointed by our event. I am sure watching the set up of an event may seem like it was disorganised as there is always lots of dashing about...More

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Reviewed 13 May 2018

great place for walks and runners, but having to pay for parking is a joke, so if you want great walks in parks there is plenty about where you do not have to pay for parking. the visitors center is good can get a little...More

Thank Dave H
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 4 weeks ago

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. The money for car parking is fed directly back in to country parks. Country parks are extremely expensive to run and maintain, without car parking fees the parks would be impossible to run. if you...More

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 May 2018 via mobile

Me and my big family attended for bbq on a bank holiday Monday. We paid £15 per car and I am struggling to understand where our money goes to. The big sign at th carpark entrance says "parking fees goes towrds maintenance and improving the...More

Thank Gul0904
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 10 May 2018

I will pass your comments to Essex County Council who manage that part of the park.

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Reviewed 16 April 2018 via mobile

Lovely walk along the fantastically priced Gruffalo Trail (50p for the map). Kids loved the trail abd dog loved sniffing about in the woods. Carpark is pricy and toilets could do with a deep clean but were still usable. Overall a very enjoyable morning out.

1  Thank Deborah M
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 29 April 2018

thank you for taking the time to leave a review. If you are a regular visitor a season ticket might save you money please ask in the visitors centre for more details.

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Reviewed 14 April 2018

Thorndon park (north) is a lovely piece of open woodland with well marked and maintained paths. We took two of the grandchildren there for the afternoon. The eldest (5 years old) had been before and led us around the Gruffalo trail. There are many dens...More

Thank Mr_Pete56
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 16 April 2018

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. If you are a regular visitor to Essex Country parks you may save by purchasing a season ticket. details are available in the visitors centre.

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Reviewed 28 March 2018 via mobile

Nice for a little walk. We walked from south to North and back again. Easy to follow trail and you can choose from hills and forest. Also a nice cafe.

Thank Adam H
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 9 April 2018

Thank you for taking the time to post a review.

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Reviewed 4 March 2018

An enjoyable place to conduct a country walk. There's the Gruffalo Trail for young children at the North Visitor Centre, but it is also worth following the extensive trails to see what you can discover. It's always worth taking a good pair of boots or...More

Thank Dave F
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 9 April 2018

thank you for your lovely review.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Ask a question
Questions & Answers
dannydizz
10 May 2017|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from thorndoncountrypark | Property representative |
Hi, I Will speak to the rangers for you and come back to you once I have some answers.
1
Vote
Rita H H
13 December 2016|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from ray1896 | Reviewed this property |
CM13 3RZ, is the correct postcode. CM13 3RU is Thorndon Park, which is the original country house that the park surrounded but is now upmarket flats, near Thorndon Golf Club.
2
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