Hadleigh Castle Country Park and Two Tree Island Nature Reserve
We hope this will help you discover a little more about Hadlelgh Castle Country Park. The map will help you explore the park, one of the largest in Essex, by foot, bike or horse.
The Country Park gets its name from Hadleigh Castle, an impressive ruin of a fortress built over 700 years ago. Although the Castle is not within the Park’s boundary, it is easy to reach. Follow the Wildside Walk markers through the Park or take the easy route along Fitzwilliam Road. Both routes are accessed from Chapel Lane car park
Park and People
Whatever the season there’s always something to do at the Park. In spring, the bluebells and other flowers put on a magnificent display. In summer Hadleigh is a great place for a picnic or flying a kite. In autumn, the wild harvest of blackberries and other fruits is a seasonal attraction. In Winter come and watch bird life from the hides or if it’s snowing bring a sledge.
Walks and Wanders
Hadleigh Castle Country Park is the perfect place to stretch your legs.
From Leigh or Benfleet
Why not take a bracing walk along the seawall between Leigh and Benfleet. Have a pub lunch, and then return by train to your starting point. The station car parks are free at weekends.
From Chapel Lane
Follow the attractive hilly trail from Chapel Lane and take in the best view in Essex. Where else in the county are Kent, Canvey, Southend Pier, Canary Wharf and the Dartford Bridge all visible from the same place?
From Two Tree Island
Try a flatter stroll at Two Tree Island and wander along the creek. From our bird hides, you can see redshank, herons and breeding avocets, all feeding in the lagoon.
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Birds and butterflies:-
The mix of scrub, grassland and woodIand provides many places for plants and animals to live in the Park. You will find lots of wildlife on your visit; a kestrel hovering high above, a flock of geese feeding on the marshes, and if you listen carefully, you may hear the ‘laughing’ call of a green woodpecker.
In the summer, the Park is one of the best places in Essex to see butterflies, which like to bask on the sunny, south-facing slopes. Dragonflies and damselflies dart around the ditches and ponds on the marshes.
If you look carefully and walk quietly, you may be lucky enough to see a lizard or snake.
Events and Activities
The Rangers host many events and activities throughout the year. It could be a stargazing walk in winter, a glow- worm hunt or children’s activity days in summer. All these guided activities are shown on our noticeboards, in the events section of Healthy Life Essex, the events leaflet found on site and in Essex Tourist Information Centres. If you would like an activity specially organised for your group or school, just speak to a Ranger.
The Iron Age Roundhouse has its own events, please check contacts below for details
Why not call us to find out about conservation tasks at Hadleigh. Task days are sociable, fun and help protect the Park’s landscape and wildlife. See the Healthy Life Essex Volunterring section for further details or visit the volunteers section of www.hadleighcountrypark.co.uk
Country Park Review ................ Hadleigh Castle, by Liam Crawford - aged 15
Hadleigh Castle is in Hadleigh Country Park - which has stunning views along the Thames, the best way you can go to the park is through the Hadleigh Castle - which was built in 1230 by Hubert De Burgh. From the castle you can walk through the park - where some cows are found and other little creatures such as rabbits - and for bird lovers you can also watch the beautiful species of bird fly. This really is a wonderful place, the reason why it is there was for Hadleigh Castle as part of its grounds, which got built and rebuilt by Kings such as King Edward III in the 1360's and his predecessors. This is good, healthy and interesting place, where you can walk with family in peace, watching the world go by...
There is the Salvation Army shop which contains a cafe, plants to buy and some books about the local area.
Hadleigh Castle was built in the early 13th century by the orders of Hubert De Burgh, the castle was situated in an ideal position to protect the Thames from possible French invasion; Unfortunately it was built on unstable clay and numerous landslides have happened, you can tell that when you visit it for your day out; the castle suffered the withering of time and owners who did not preserve what they could of the castle but the biggest effect was the landslides which caused half the castle lower than the other.
The pictures are of Hadleigh Castle - showing its beauty. This pleasant area is playing host to the 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike Event by Hadleigh downs, so there will be changes in that area soon.
This is a good way to get exercise - simply by walking along Hadleigh Country Park and through Hadleigh Castle- whilst seeing some spectacular scenery, looking at some local history and the natural beauty of this area. Ian Parker and his wife Sue Parker said "This really is an amazing example of natural beauty that everybody- young and old can enjoy" when I asked do you come here often they replied "absolutely - not a week goes by that we don't come over here for a walk through the castle and this park we are in now" this shows how local people enjoy it- so can you. The Castle is always a good start for the walk as it is about 1.2 miles to the beginning of the woods or you can go along the coast.
If you want more information about this place go to http://www.hadleighcountrypark.co.uk/
All photographs in this review taken by Liam Crawford
Location, opening Times and contact details:
How to find us:
BY ROAD: The main car park can be found at the bottom of Chapel Lane, which is off the A13 in Hadleigh. Follow the brown Country Park signs from A127 Rayleigh Weir
BY BUS:For bus routes and timetable details phone Enquiries on Essex Traveline Tel: 0870 6082608.
BY RAIL: Closest stations are Benfleet and Leigh, on the C2C service. All trains stop at these stations. Timetable enquiries phone 08457 484950.
Hadleigh Castle Country Park is open from 8am until dusk.
The field containing the 'Iron Age Roundhouse' (next to the Chapel Lane car park) will be open every day from 9am to 5pm. The Roundhouse itself will only be open on certain days, please check contacts below for details
Hadleigh Castle Country Park operates a 'Pay and Display' for cars and coaches (Tax exempt vehicles and motorcycles - no charge)
For further information:
Hadleigh Castle Country Park: At the Chapel Lane car park you will find the information room. Inside, a small exhibition tells you more about the Park. For more information please telephone (24 hour answerphone) the Ranger Service on 01702 551072 or visit the web sites
www.hadleighcountrypark.co.uk, or www.essexcc.gov.uk/countryparks
Pictures by Daniel Bridge and Mike Wilson