Danbury Country Park
Grid ref: TL 771 048 (click for o/s map)
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What is now Danbury Country Park was once a deer park belonging to the estate of Danbury Manor, dating back to the Norman conquest of 1066. It was re-landscaped in Elizabethan times, and some massive oaks in the park today are believed to date from then, along with exotics such as cedars and redwoods and a fine collection of rhododendrons and azaleas.
The eastern part of the park is dense woodland, extending also along the southern boundary. This is dominated by hornbeam and oak, including the massive ancient trees mentioned above, which provide good accommodation for owls and bats. Seven species have been recorded, including daubenton's bats which can be seen feeding low over the lakes on warm summer evenings.
There are three ornamental lakes, excavated around 1290, one of them used for angling. North of them, next to Danbury Palace, is an ornamental garden bounded by yew hedges. A wildflower meadow to the west is full of St John's wort, field scabious and wild carrot, and doubles as a mini-arboretum.
North of the park is a large meadow. Most of this is close-mown grassland but sections are left wild to naturalise.
The mix of woodland, open grassland and ornamental garden attracts a good selection of birds, with many ducks and other water birds on the lakes
Entrances on Woodhill road (the Sandon Road) west of Danbury Common.
Regular bus services Chelmsford–Maldon and Chelmsford-S. Woodham. Get off at Eve's Corner.
Accessible at all times via public footpath. Car parks open 8am to dusk.
Spring and summer for birds; warm summer evenings for bats.
Easy and moderate trails, toilets and picnic benches designed for wheelchair users. Battery operated buggies phone first (01245 222350) to ensure gates are opened.
Guided walks available on request. School groups welcome by arrangement. Call the Rangers on 01245 222350.