Grid ref: TQ 518 924 (click for o/s map)
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Btedfords Park was enclosed in the 15th century and the manor house and gardens were laid out around it later. The manor house fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1959, and now it is managed as an urban park. The upper section is landscaped parkland, with exotic trees, a deer enclosure and close-mown grassland. The lower section is managed for wildlife, with hay meadows and some mature woodland and scrub.
The area of marsh to the east of the north–south bridleway is fed by springs seeping out at the top of the slope. Beyond it is a large meadow which is one of the finest flower-rich grasslands in Essex. Here you will find cuckoo flower, pignut and ragged robin flowering in spring, and later knapweed, sneezewort and pepper saxifrage.
Birdlife is varied with many warbler species arriving in summer to breed, particularly in the scrub and woodland in the south of the park. A wide variety of dragon- and damselflies can be seen around the lake and ponds in summer.
Parks were often sited to get the best views, and this one is no exception. From the visitor centre, sited near the now-demolished manor house and run by Essex Wildlife Trust, there are superb views across Essex and into Kent.
Main entrance off Broxhill Road, which runs north from Harold Hill up to Havering-atte-Bower village. SatNav: RM4 1QH.
Frequent bus services from Romford station (Liverpool St line) to the bottom end of the park on Lower Bedfords Road.
Pedestrian access at all times. Vehicle entrance closes 30 minutes before sunset. Visitor Centre open daily 9am to 5pm; closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
May–June for wild flowers and birdsong; July–September for later flowers and flying insects.
The centre has facilities for the disabled.
For information or help contact the visitor centre on (01708) 748646; email email@example.com; facebook and twitter EWTBedfordsPark.