We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Get directions
Address: The Avenue, Brentwood CM13 3RZ, England
Phone Number:
+44 1277 232944
Website
Today
09:00 - 17:00
Open now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun - Sat 09:00 - 17:00
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Description:

This beautiful country park contains a diverse range of habitats and is...

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.

read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 277 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 154
    Excellent
  • 86
    Very good
  • 26
    Average
  • 7
    Poor
  • 4
    Terrible
The Gruffalo Trail

The staff were very helpful and cheery at the Cafe and Gift Shop. My 4 year old daughter LOVED the Gruffalo Trail and has already asked when can she go back and visit. The food is... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 1 week ago
kellyrussell89
,
Bexley, United Kingdom
Add Photo Write a Review

277 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
Showing 277: English reviews
Bexley, United Kingdom
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

The staff were very helpful and cheery at the Cafe and Gift Shop. My 4 year old daughter LOVED the Gruffalo Trail and has already asked when can she go back and visit. The food is slightly over priced for what you get but to be honest we didn't mind paying it as it was a lovely day out. Would... More 

Helpful?
Thank kellyrussell89
thorndoncountrypark, Manager at Thorndon Country Park, responded to this review

Thank you for your feedback. We hope to see you again soon. More 

Level Contributor
24 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Fab walk with my 3 year old, 1 Year old and our dog. Set out in a manageable distance for my 3 year old to manage on his bike without getting tired legs. Both kids loved finding all of the Gruffalo characters and having their pictures taken with them. The visitors centre is great. Only downside is the parking is... More 

Helpful?
Thank Deborah M
thorndoncountrypark, General Manager at Thorndon Country Park, responded to this review

Thank you very much for your feedback. If you are a regular visitor to the park one of our season tickets might help you to save money on parking and covers all of the Essex Council Country Parks. More 

Essex, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 February 2017 via mobile

Parked at other Thorndon and walked to the Gruffalo Thorndon for a spot of lunch. Got there and they weren't serving hot food as they were too busy. Bearing in mind it was half term I would have thought that management would have prepared for this and had more staff as the poor lady and man were trying to do... More 

Helpful?
Thank sueoutten
thorndoncountrypark, Manager at Thorndon Country Park, responded to this review

I am very sorry to hear that you were left disappointed. We were hit hard over the holidays with sickness which left us very short of staff and volunteers. We plan to the best of our ability for busy days however at times unfortunately there are situations beyond our control and we have to make decisions, like to stop hot... More 

Essex
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 January 2017 via mobile

I visited here with my partner and two dogs for a Sunday stroll, we only live around the corner and thought it would be a nice change to the woods we normally walk through. Although it's nice to walk around (not much to see except trees), it was £2 for an hours parking which may not sound much but considering... More 

Helpful?
Thank EsxUK1
Goole, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 January 2017

A wonderful space to stroll around in gazing at trees, watching birds fly whilst simply enjoying time in a green paradise. Recommedn for anyone and everyone to spend at least an hour a week here.

Helpful?
Thank Smiler2017
thorndoncountrypark, Manager at Thorndon Country Park, responded to this review

thank you for your kind response More 

Brentwood, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 January 2017 via mobile

This is a lovely park to come to with the family for an afternoon walk or, in warmer weather all day with a picnic. The 'Gruffalo Trail' is a great attraction for parents with small children which is a winding trail through the woods to discover carved wooden models of all the animals in the Gruffalo story. Little maps are... More 

Helpful?
Thank MrTherm
thorndoncountrypark, Manager at Thorndon Country Park, responded to this review

Hello, Thank you for your lovely comments. You are correct all the parking money does feed back into country parks. If you are a regular visitor to us we do offer a season ticket that will save you some money on parking. Please ask in the visitors centre for more details. More 

Level Contributor
22 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 January 2017 via mobile

A favourite of mine to take the children and the dogs for some fresh air and a lovely walk . There's also a dog training obstacle course there and a cafe - great for some snacks and a coffee .

Helpful?
Thank ClaireMichelleW
Essex, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
40 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 January 2017

Enjoyable walk around the park. Good if you have large dogs that need to be let off the lead. Shame you have to pay for parking... it a bit expensive as well.

Helpful?
Thank Londonlady888
thorndoncountrypark, Manager at Thorndon Country Park, responded to this review

Hello, If you are a regular visitor to us the parking season ticket will help save you money on car parking. More 

2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 January 2017 via mobile

The Gruffalo trail is brilliant - great distance for toddlers as not too far and statues of the animals to find and keep them moving. Parking is pricey though and the cafe, while recently improved, is still rather basic.

Helpful?
1 Thank Joanna S
thorndoncountrypark, Manager at Thorndon Country Park, responded to this review

Hello, Thank you for your comments. our café has recently undergone a refurbishment and we are now slowly introducing new lunch time menu to provide a better and more exciting offer to our visitors. More 

Basildon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 January 2017 via mobile

Guffalo trail is great fun for the kids. Parking is expensive and since the cafe was refurbished it's also now more pricy.

Helpful?
Thank Nick S
thorndoncountrypark, Manager at Thorndon Country Park, responded to this review

Hello, if you are a regular visitor to our park our season ticket could help you save money on car parking fees. Please ask in the visitors centre for more information. More 

Travellers who viewed Thorndon Country Park also viewed

 

Been to Thorndon Country Park? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Thorndon Country Park and other visitors
10 questions
Ask a question

See all questions (10)

Questions? Get answers from Thorndon Country Park staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
  • How should I dress for this tour?