Langdon Hills Country Park
400ac/162ha SSSI (part)
Grid ref: TQ 697 865 (click for o/s map)
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This mixture of ancient and more recent woodland and flower-rich meadows was bought by Essex County Council in the 1930s under the Green Belt scheme and designated a country park in 1973.
Northlands, Martinhole and Hall Wood are all ancient in origin, and dominated by oak, hornbeam and ash trees. Northlands Wood also has a large number of wild service trees, a reliable sign of an ancient wood, while Hall Wood to the west has an unusual concentration of wild cherry along its western and southern fringes. Coombe Wood and The Park are former parkland, and the other woods have grown up on former farmland.
The meadows around One Tree Hill are either cut for hay or grazed to keep their diversity of plants. Two of them, east of One Tree Hill, are good enough to qualify as Sites of Special Scientific Interest and are covered in green-winged orchids in May. Try to visit before the hay cut, usually in July.
One Tree Hill is signposted from the Five Bells roundabout (A176 junction) on the A13. Westley Heights can be reached from there via Dry Street (left turn off A176) or via the B1007 (Stanford-le-Hope–Basildon). It is behind the Harvester at the top of the hill. SatNav: SS17 9NH.
Every day from 8 am until dusk.
May for bluebells and birdsong in the woods; July for meadow flowers.
For more information contact the Rangers on 01268 542066.