Havering Country Park
Grid ref: TQ 500 924 (click for o/s map)
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This was once part of the estate of Havering Palace. One of the historic features that has survived is an avenue of wellingtonia trees (also known as giant redwoods) along Wellingtonia Avenue in the north-east corner. Remnants of its plotland history have survived also, in the form of old roads and a house, now the country park office.
The park is mainly mature mixed woodland, including some ancient hazel coppice and one of the few established pine woodlands in the area, which attracts pine specialists such as goldcrests (which breed here) and coal tits. High on the ridge the soil is gravelly and here you find birch, gorse and bracken, while the damper, heavier clay soil of the southern valley favours oak, hornbeam and bramble.
The wildflower meadows to the south are cut for hay in September. Agrimony, birdsfoot trefoil and ox-eye daisy grow here. It supports many of the commoner butterflies and also white-letter hairstreak.
Access via Clockhouse Lane, which runs north from the roundabout in Collier Row where Collier Row Lane (B174 from Eastern Avenue, A12) meets Chase Cross Road. SatNav: RM5 3PH.
Frequent buses run from Romford and terminate at the main (Clockhouse Lane) entrance.
Accessible at all times. Car parks open from dawn to dusk.
May for migrant songbirds and early flowers in the woodland; June–July for wild flowers in the meadows; autumn for tree colours.
Vehicle access from Wellingtonia Avenue via a radar key obtainable from Havering Council or from the Park Office (call 01708 720858).