Grid ref: TL 683 043 (click for o/s map)
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Many people know Hylands Park as a site for major events such as the annual V-Festival, but in fact it is an historic park offering a great deal for anyone interested in wildlife. It has some fine ancient trees, and also some patches of ancient woodland. Add to this some flower-rich grassland, a number of ponds and a stretch of the River Wid.
A circular walk around the fringes takes you through the best wildlife habitats and there is also a network of surfaced paths. The largest wood, South Wood, is former coppice rich in flowers, including large numbers of early purple orchids. Great crested newts occupy some of the ponds and lakes. Fallow deer often graze within the park.
Additional attractions include Hylands House with its formal garden, an arboretum and the Stables Centre, which has a cafˇ and gift shop
Access from the A414 about a mile west of the St Mary's Church roundabout, at the southern end of Chelmsford's inner ring road.
Buses from Brentwood to Chelmsford pass the park: from Chelmsford nearest bus stop is next to the St Mary's Church roundabout; from Brentwood on London Road directly outside the entrance gates. There is a signed cycle route from Writtle village.
Entrance gates open at 7.30am and close at dusk. Hylands House and tearoom open Sunday and Monday throughout the year. Sometimes access may be restricted because of events: call Chelmsford Council on 01245 605500 for this or other information.
Worth a visit at any time of the year, but especially late April to May for early purple orchids in South Wood.