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Bedfords Park

215ac/87ha  SMI

Grid ref: TQ 518 924 (click for o/s map)

Updated 25/08/2014


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The upper section of Bedfords Park has all the scenic grandeur of landscaped parkland, with its exotic trees, its deer enclosure and its close-mown slopes. The lower section is managed for wildlife, with a marsh, a superb wildflower meadow, 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 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.

The visitor centre, run by Essex Wildlife Trust, commands superb views over much of east London and into Kent. It incorporates many sustainable features by reusing parts of the earlier building and incorporating high insulation, and has a suspended stonecrop 'green roof'

Visiting

The main entrance to the park is off Broxhill Road, which runs north from the junction of Lower Bedfords Road, Noak Hill Road and Straight Road up to Havering-atte-Bower village.

Frequent bus services run from Romford station (Liverpool St line) to the bottom end of the park on Lower Bedfords Road. Occasional services run to Havering-atte-Bower past the main vehicle entrance.

The Visitor Centre opens daily 9am to 5pm; closed Mondays except during school holidays and throughout the summer, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The vehicle entrance to the park closes 30 minutes before sunset, but pedestrian access is possible at all times.

May–June for wild flowers and birdsong, and July to 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 bedfords@essexwt.org.uk; facebook and twitter EWTBedfordsPark.


Photo © Tony Gunton