Take our Explore Essex 2020 Challenge
Get out more this winter and Explore Essex
Every New Year we all start off with the best of intentions to get fit, healthy or learn a new skill. It's the time of year when we all say 'New Year, New Me!'.
Whilst it isn't always easy sticking to your resolutions we've pulled together a list of 101 ideas to help you get out more this 2020.
Receive a certificate and be entered into a prize draw to win a family Essex Explorer’s Hamper!
Can you and your family do 20 of our challenges/activities this year? From den building to birdwatching, watching a classic film in a new environment or discovering a work of art, we've got something for you.
Share your images with us #ExploreEssexChallenge and you could win a luxury Essex Explorers hamper containing aBraintree Village gift voucher worth £50. Everyone who completes the challenges and claims their certificate will be entered into a prize draw to win the hamper. The winner will be drawn on 23 March 2020.
Entry to the parks is free, and every penny spent on car parking is reinvested into the upkeep and development of the parks and protection of the wildlife within.
We hope to see you soon.
Each entrant who completes the 20 challenges will receive a certificate.
Email: Explore.Essex@essex.gov.uk to sign up and claim yours.
How to Enter
To enter this prize draw simply do the following:
1) Take a picture of you and your family completing each challenge
2) Share these pictures on Facebook or Instagram @exploressex using the #ExploreEssexChallenge
3) Like the Facebook or Instagram page where you’ve shared your photo (to make it easier for us to contact you!)
(If you're not on social media simply email us to share instead). View our full T&Cs here.
Explore Essex 2020 Challenge
- Capability Brown was one of the UK’s top landscape architects. Can you find the pond he designed at Belhus Woods Country Park
- Swoop and soar on the Sky Ropes at Great Notley County Park
- Research your family history at the Essex Record Office in Chelmsford
- Follow the Gruffalo trail in the Deep Dark Wood at Thorndon North Country Park
- Get on your bikes! Try mountain biking at the site of London 2012 at Hadleigh Park
- Blow away the cobwebs and build a sandcastle on the beach at Cudmore Grove Country Park
- Explore the permanent exhibition at Jaywick Martello Tower, discover more about the history of our coastline defences
- Take a photo in the Cloud Hammocks on the Stick Man trail at Weald Country Park
- The ancient woodlands of Essex are hundreds of years old. Explore the ancient woodland at Danbury Country Park and take a guess at how old the trees are?
- Take a photo of something that inspires you and share it with us
- Come and see the stunning migratory flocks of Brent Geese arriving on our shores from Russia at Cudmore Grove during the winter months
- Witness the first signs of Spring and go on a Snowdrop Walk at Weald Country Park
- Watch a film in a new environment; go and see Blade Runner (15) Tuesday 21 January Essex Record Office 7pm
- Visit the historic Cressing Temple Barns; the barns were built by the Knights Templar in 1137, and are among the oldest and largest surviving timber barns in Europe
- Find the ducks at Danbury Country Park lakes; can you spot a Mallard or a Teal?
- Try geocaching! Explore the beautiful surrounds of a Country Park with GPS technology, what treasures will you uncover?
- Find at least five different species of trees in our Country Parks
- Treat your furry friend to the dog activity course at Thorndon South, or the dog agility course at Belhus Woods; there’s jumps, hoops and ramps to enjoy!
- Draw a picture of your favourite place in Essex and share it with us
- Spot the magnificent deer at Weald Country Park. Buy food from the visitor centre and feed them through the chutes
- Fly a kite high in the sky at one of our Country Parks. Hadleigh, Cudmore Grove, Weald and Thorndon South have plenty of open spaces to enjoy the fresh air.
- Explore the Flitch Way and follow the former railway line by foot or bicycle
- Go to the panto at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester!
- Take in the views across London by walking across Old Thorndon Pastures (from Thorndon South) let us know what can see
- Join a fun Park Run at one of our Country Parks. Most parks host Park Runs and they take place every Saturday at 9 am
- Visit the new permanent artwork by internationally-acclaimed artist, Henry Driver in the Wheat Barn at Cressing Temple Barns
- Join a volunteer group! Get more involved with local places and parks.
- Make a bird feeder and see which birds you can attract to your garden
- Take a walk around the lake at Thorndon South
- Hunt for fossils on the beach at Cudmore Grove Country Park. Please be careful not to disturb the cliffs!
- Find the grazing sheep and goats at Thorndon North. Top tip: call into the visitor centre to find out where they are likely to be
- Visit the Chelmsford Museum at Oaklands Park in Chelmsford and detect some ancient coins
- Learn to read a map and follow a route through a Country Park
- Play a game of rounders or cricket
- Find five different types of leaves or flowers
- Visit the Antony Gormley exhibition at the Firstsite art gallery in Colchester
- Come and enjoy the great outdoors with us at Family Forest School, gather round the camp fire and so much more
- Hug a tree
- Make a bug house
- Get on your bikes! Take a cycle ride in one of the Country Parks, you can hire bikes from Trailnet at Thorndon Country Park (from 16 February) or Hadleigh Park Cycles (all year round).
- Taste three different types of chocolate this Easter. Or visit the Chocolate Festival on 4/5 April at Cressing Temple Barns. Don’t forget to book your ticket.
- Bring your magnifying glass and go on a bug hunt, remember to count how many mini beasts you find!
- Have a go at parkour in our special activity area at Hadleigh Park
- Write a poem about your favourite place or green space
- Join us on a nature walk
- Visit the house of the Captain of the famous Mayflower ship, Christopher James, in Harwich
- Walk up the Belvedere mound to the remains of the folly at Weald Country Park
- Build a den!
- Paint a pebble and gift it to a friend
- Read a book during February half term
- Can you spot the fabulous Snow Bunting along the foreshore at Cudmore Grove? The bird is scarce in the UK but can be spotted during the autumn and winter months.
- Discover the hidden Victorian Ice House and find out how food was once kept chilled at Danbury Country Park
- Go to the theatre, or a music concert
- Attend a session at one of the Essex Outdoors centres during February half term
- Go stargazing! Look up into the night sky and see if you can make out any constellations
- See and smell the sensory garden at Thorndon North (close to the visitor centre)
- Watch or join the mud run in Maldon
- Picnics aren’t just for summer! Wrap up warm and pack a thermos and enjoy a winter picnic with your family!
- Climb a tree
- Watch a classic Hitchcock film; go and see The Birds (15) Tuesday 28 January Essex Record Office, 2pm
- Try your hand at bark or leaf rubbings
- Bring your binoculars and watch Kingfishers and Little Grebes from the bird hide at Childerditch Pond, Thorndon North
- Go for a swim!
- Attend an Essex 2020 STEAM event this year
- Make a campfire (* only available in Country Parks during Forest School and education sessions)
- Go for a jog in a park, get some green exercise
- Visit your local ‘Summer of Art’ trail, or travel to somewhere new to take in theirs
- Play hide and seek in the woods (but make sure not to lose sight of your parents/children altogether!)
- Visit the Blackwater Estuary from Cudmore Grove Country Park and look for Grey Seals, or catch a ferry from Brightlingsea
- Feed the birds
- Discover what lies beneath your feet! Many of our Country Parks have geology trails, what can you find?
- Take a walk around Danbury Country Parks' beautiful Victorian Lakes
- Try orienteering! There’s a special course at Belhus Woods Country Park, Great Notley Country Park and Weald Country Park
- Meet the peacocks at Weald Country Park
- Spot three different insects and find out their names
- Toast marshmallows (* only available in Country Parks as part of a Forest School and education sessions)
- Read a book in the woods
- Skim stones on the foreshore of Cudmore Grove
- Take a torch, wrap up warm and enjoy a night walk at one of our Country Parks
- Kick-up the autumn leaves
- Stand still and listen to the bird song, add audio to our Essex Sounds map. You record your surroundings, then upload the file to the website through this form
- Try and capture a wild animal in a photograph, such as a squirrel
- Attend our ‘Green Festival’ at Great Notley Country Park this summer
- Don your wellies and take a stroll in a stream, or seashore
- Exploring fungi is fun! Try and identify three different species
- How many ducks can you count on the lakes at one of our Country Parks?
- Watch the sun set over the water
- Play a game of ‘I Spy’ in the woods
- Go on a beach clean at Cudmore Grove
- Learn how to identify a tree by just looking at its leaves
- Visit an Essex Mill
- Make a bird box
- Watch a film in an outdoor location
- Take a walk in the woods on International Forest Day (22 March)
- Join one of our family craft sessions at Cressing or Weald
- Do yoga in the woods
- Collect shells on the seashore
- Visit our fairy and elves festival during the summer holidays and bring a little magic into your lives
- Collect fir cones and create a woodland inspired creature
- Find a rope swing in the woods and see how high you can soar
- Jump in a puddle and have fun with mud!