Located in Essex, Hadleigh Country Park offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for the perfect setting for an idyllic countryside picnic, want to explore some important historical sites, take in the stunning views or take on one of the UK’s top mountain biking courses, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to finding things to see and do. It’s perfect as both a place to unwind and relax, or somewhere that you can go to challenge yourself.
Spanning almost four hundred acres, Hadleigh Country Park is one of the largest in Essex, and amongst some of the largest country parks in the UK. It is a firm favourite spot with hikers and walkers, who choose it for its magnificent views, rolling hills, green pastures, marshes, hay meadows, old hedgerows, and peaceful ponds, making it the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely countryside stroll. In summer, the meadows at the park are in full bloom, attracting scores of butterflies and creating the perfect setting for a relaxing picnic. If you visit in the autumn, there’s a lot of blackberry-picking to be done, whilst winter visitors can enjoy sledging if there’s snow, or bird-watching.
Hadleigh Park has always been a major spot for mountain bikers, however, it was truly put on the map during the London Olympics in 2012, when the huge network of bike trails were used by the competitors. A world-class sporting venue, avid cyclists flock from all over the UK to take on the Olympic trails and tracks, which are free to use. If you’re not a mountain biking pro or don’t feel ready to take on the bigger trails, you can find additional biking tracks designed for amateurs, allowing anybody to have a go.
With stunning scenery, wildlife and plenty to do, it’s no surprise that Hadleigh Park is a popular destination for a family day out. Keen young cyclists can take on the Olympic trails, whilst there’s also a children’s play area, to keep little ones entertained whilst mum and dad relax. The amenities available at the park make it the perfect choice for families; there is a large car park, café, and bike hire facilities available.
If you are a history-lover, then look no further than Hadleigh Park, which is home to some amazing historical attractions. Adjacent to the car park, you can find a replica Iron Age roundhouse, whilst just 1km into the park, visitors can take in the impressive Hadleigh Castle ruins from all the way back in the thirteenth century.
Both adults and children alike will love visiting Hadleigh Farm, which is run by The Salvation Army and comprises tea rooms and a rare breed animal centre. Along with being one of the main attractions on the park, the farm has also been helping members of the local community develop their employability skills for over one hundred years.
If you’re planning to visit Hadleigh Park, it is open daily from 08:00-17:00. Dogs are also allowed. Parking is pay and display.