Thorndon Country Park

Oluwatosin Michael
Nov 28, 2022 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Oct 07, 2021
Family walking happily along nature trail with autumnal trees in the background, next to lake.

  • Take a breath of fresh air with the stunning woodland hike at Thorndon Country Park.
  • Children will love spending time in the Gruffalo Trail and finding all their favourite characters from the beloved book series. 
  • There are several fun family events held at Thorndon Country Park throughout the year that children and parents alike will enjoy.
  • You can even organise a special birthday celebration for your child at this nature reserve.

If you’re looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, check out Thorndon Country Park. This is one of the best parks in the Essex countryside.

It is home to exciting features like the Gruffalo Trail and spans across a wide variety of natural landscapes that are home to many different kinds of plants and animals.

Thorndon Country Park also holds many family-friendly events throughout the year that both parents and children will enjoy partaking in. There’s so much to do and explore in this scenic location; it makes for the perfect nature day out with the family in any season.

Spanning around 141 hectares of land, Thorndon Country Park is home to many different kinds of habitats, animals and plants. Several different trails take visitors through the different aspects of the park.

You can choose to explore areas like the ancient woodland, marshland, parkland and ponds.

The wide variety of environments means that many different kinds of native wildlife call this place their home. Animals of interest include rare butterflies like the Purple and White-letter Hairstreaks, many kinds of woodland birds as well as migratory animals such as Siskins and Bramblings.

Thorndon Country Park is also linked with Old Thorndon Pastures, which means the farmland in the area has been transformed into traditional grazing areas for farm animals.

Along your trails, you will be able to see furry friends like goats, cows, pigs and so on. With lots of things to look out for and a wide variety of ecosystems to explore, this is a great hike for the whole family to de-stress and connect with nature.

The children will love the chance to explore the deep dark wood along the Gruffalo Trail. Here you can find various handcrafted sculptures of all your favourite characters from the iconic franchise.

From the Gruffalo himself to the cheeky mouse, these stunning statues are dotted all over the area to make a mini treasure hunt that takes approximately 45 minutes to complete.

It’s a brilliant way to get the kids excited about hiking and for them to really interact with nature, taking in all the surroundings and appreciating the natural beauty. Maps of the trail are available from the Visitor Centre so you and the kids won’t miss a single statue!

Numerous fun family events are held at Thorndon Country Park throughout the year that all members of the family will enjoy. From special walks like the Fairy Door Trail and the seasonal Spooky Bat Hunt, there are so many outdoor activities to partake in.

Other past events have included Mindfulness in the Woods, Music in the Woods, outdoor cinemas and much more!

There is always something exciting in store here that everyone in the family will find entertaining. Keep an eye out on the Thorndon Country Park website and Facebook page to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Why not celebrate your child’s birthday with an unforgettable party at Thorndon Country Park? They offer party services with a range of themes that can cater to children of all ages.

With activities ranging from mini-beast hunting to treasure hunts and survival den building, there is so much fun to be had here.

Each party guarantees an hour and a half of fun and games led by an Essex Wildlife Trust leader as well as a designated party room in the Visitor Centre for cake and refreshments afterwards. It’s a brilliant way to mark the occasion with an active and exciting event that children of all ages will love.

What to know before you go

  • Due to government guidelines regarding COVID-19 safety, some of the facilities at Thorndon Country Park may not be open to the public at this time. Visitors are requested to wear a mask while indoors at the Visitor Centre. Please note that the park is currently operating on unusual opening hours.
  • Thorndon Country Park is open every day from 8am to dusk.
  • There is a cafe on site that serves hot and cold refreshments to all visitors. 
  • There is also a picnic area within the grounds for those who prefer to bring a packed lunch.
  • The Thorndon Country Park Shop is located on site where visitors can support the park by picking up a unique souvenir.
  • There are toilets, including wheelchair-accessible toilets, and baby changing facilities available on site.
  • Thorndon Country Park is accessible for wheelchair users and buggies with most routes having flat paths. Please note that some routes have more rocky paths and that in wetter weather the grounds can become slippery and dangerous.
  • Dogs are welcome in the park; however, they are not permitted on event days or birthday parties. 

How to get there

  • Brentwood Rail Station is closest to the park. Served by TFL Rail, this is just a short bus ride away.
  • The following bus routes all have stops a short walk away from the entrance of Thorndon Country Park; 37, 269, 351 and 498.
  • The Thorndon Country Park parking area is located on site. There is an hourly charge for visitors who choose to park there.

England United Kingdom East England Essex

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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