Steve and I had a free weekend, and I wrote about the things we got up to in a post yesterday. We visited Danbury Country Park, and I shared a few of the photos I took with my new camera in that post, but wanted to write one about the park itself. It was such a lovely place to visit, and I know we will go back again and again, and look forward to seeing the park as spring turns into summer. If you’re looking for places to go in Essex, put this park on your list!
Getting to the park was fairly easy via the A12, and we followed our sat-nav which found the location without problem. You do have to pay for parking, which is used to is used to maintain the park and protect its wildlife. The current prices are as follows:
- Up to 30 minutes £1
- Up to 1 hour £1.50
- Up to 2 hours £2.50
- Up to 3 hours £3.50
- Over 3 hours £4
The ticket machines take cards as well as cash which was really handy, if you forget to bring change with you.
For someone like me, who is currently struggling with walking for long periods, the park has lots of benches as you walk around the lakes. I’m going to use the benches as markers for my improving fitness levels on future visits. One particular bench had carvings for the Girl Guides on it which I thought was cool. I used to be a Girl Guide when I was younger!
In addition, there are also picnic benches dotted around, and you are welcomed to bring a picnic with you – but no BBQs.
Danbury Country Park – originally laid out in the 13th century as part of a private estate – offers ornamental gardens and lakes, woodland and meadows.
The park’s accessible, well-maintained tracks are popular with dog walkers and families, with plenty of seats and picnic benches to have a rest or a bite to eat.
Surviving historic structures include an ice house where before refrigerators, ice was collected from the lakes in winter and stored for the palace kitchens.
The lakeside path takes you past the ornamental gardens and alongside tranquil waters, where you can see ducks, carp, moorhens, coots, grebes and sometimes a kingfisher.
Late spring is a good time to see ducklings and spectacular displays from rhododendrons in the gardens. In summer, the meadows fill with wildflowers and grasses, attracting butterflies and insects. Woodland paths offer respite from the sun in the dappled shade of ancient oaks, hornbeams and sweet chestnuts.
– Visit Parks
We saw a few ducks on the lakes – it was here that I missed my old camera and its superzoom! Luckily Steve had brought that one out with him to take his own photographs, and I had to grab the camera a few times to get more close up shots! I’ve since bought my first telephoto lens, so can’t wait to get out in the field to try it out.
We also saw a rare waterdog, swimming around in the lake (ha!), but seriously, dogs are allowed in this park, and we saw plenty of people walking their pooches.
Spring is still springing so not too much in the way of flowers, but there were some dotted about here and there. Similarly, some trees were bare, while others had buds and leaves starting to grow back after winter.
There was an ornamental garden which was still growing, so not much to see in there at the moment, but I bet it will be beautiful when in full bloom!
And finally, we did spot a few birds – pigeon, robin, and blue tit.
Activities & Facilities
There are several activities for children, including a Nature Club, Wild Wednesday, and Woodland Play.
Fishing is also allowed at the Lower Lake (but not in the Mid or Top Lake), between 16 June and 14 March from 8.30am until dusk. Make sure you have a rod license and buy your day permit from the Ranger at the lake. There are public toilets, including disabled facilities, near the Woods car park and at the Mid lake.
The toilets adjacent to the woods car park are closed in winter from November to April. The main toilets by the lakes car park are open all year.
The park is open from 8am till dusk.
Danbury Country Park