Bedfords Park is the most local park to us, and one which we frequent often – you will no doubt have seen mention of it several times on my blog over the years! I don’t think I’ve written a post with information about the park before, and since we’re aiming to visit all of England’s Counties, and I’m documenting each place we visit on my blog, I thought it’s about time I add Bedfords Park. I’m sharing photos of the park from a couple of our most recent visits, but you can always see lots more photos I’ve shared on various posts! I’ve literally got thousands of photos that I’ve taken at the park over the years!
Bedfords Park Visitor Centre
Set in the stunning grounds of Bedfords Park, an historic parkland site of 215 acres, owned and managed by the London Borough of Havering.
The visitor centre offers visitors a really warm welcome and the opportunity to find out about the wildlife within the park. The park includes many valuable habitats such as mature woodland, species rich wildflower meadows, ponds, streams and marshy areas.
The visitor centre is built on the site of the former mansion and it commands superb views over much of east London and into Kent. Light refreshments, snacks and a gift shop are all within the visitor centre and there is a large decked area to relax on sunny days. – Essex Wildlife Trust
From the Visitor Centre you can see the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, which crosses the Thames from Essex into Kent, as well as into London, including Canary Wharf and The O2 in Greenwich.
There are many exotic trees originally planted in the mansion gardens, such as Cedar of Lebanon, Holm Oak, Monkey-puzzle, Giant Redwood and Yew. The Park has wonderful wildflower meadows where you will find Cuckoo Flower, Pignut and Ragged Robin in the Spring. There is varied woodland, several ponds and a lake, as well as a captive herd of Red Deer. Bird highlights include all three species of Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Hobby. Wild deer are often seen (Fallow, Roe and Muntjac). The meadows and ponds provide superb habitats for a variety of invertebrates including a really wide variety of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. Winter sees a large corvid roost, with hundreds of Rooks, Crows and Jackdaws gathering near the deer pen. The upper section of the park offers a more landscaped parkland, while the lower section is managed for wildlife, with hay meadows and some mature woodland and scrub.– Essex Wildlife Trust
Whenever we (or I, on my own) got to Bedfords Park, we see and do different things. Sometimes, it’s just for a walk along the road that runs from the entrance down to the Visitor Centre car park. Other times it’s to go looking for fungi or just walking amongst the trees, listening to the sounds of the birds.
As the spring and summer arrives, wildflowers bloom, as do the flowers in the sensory gardens around the visitor’s centre. I really cannot get bored walking around and seeing what is growing!
We play games – the boy especially loves coming here to play football, and my niece loves the wide open spaces to run around in. We recently all went together for a picnic, brought lots of blankets and pillows to sit down on, some ball games to play with and had a lovely couple of hours in the fresh air and sunshine.
Sephy (my niece) and I walked around looking at the flowers growing in the grass, she loved picking them to give to me, but we always make sure to stick to daisies, dandelions and buttercups! Picking bluebells is a no-no, or at least, that is my understanding of the laws around picking wildflowers.
I will always sing the praises of my local country park, because it is just so beautiful. We’ve enjoyed coming here for so many years and always feel so lucky to have Bedfords Park just a short 5 minute drive from us!
By car the main driveway off Broxhill Road. There are two footpaths entering the site off Lower Bedfords Road. There is a car park and visitors centre with refreshments at the end of the main driveway off Broxhill Road. The 499 bus has a stop along Lower Bedfords Road.
The visitor centre, toilets and car park are fully accessible to disabled visitors. There are a number of informal pathways throughout the site, some are wheelchair friendly. Please contact the visitor centre for more information. Dogs are allowed.