Danbury Country Park

Featuring 45 acres of grade II listed park and gardens with lakes, ancient woodland, wildflower meadow and historic features. Ideal for walking, families and picnics with friends.

At a glance

Opening times

8am-dusk

Find & contact

Danbury Country Park, Woodhill Road , Chelmsford, Danbury, Essex, England, CM3 4AW
Get directions

01245 222350

country.parks@essex.gov.uk

Parking & prices

Up to 1 hour £2.00
Up to 2 hours £3.00
Up to 3 hours £4.00
Over 3 hours £4.50

Visit the MiPermit portal page.

How to pay

ExplorerPass and more

Money from parking is used to maintain the park and protect its wildlife. You can now buy parking online through MiPermit.

At this place

  • BBQs not allowed
  • Picnics allowed
  • Dogs allowed


Click here to find out more about hiring Danbury Country Park for commercial filming.

Introduction

Essex Country Parks – Reopening Update

Essex County Council are pleased to confirm the reopening of Essex Country Parks on Thursday 21 May.

This follows the easing of restrictions to outside space and safety measures being put into place to allow us to open in line with government guidance to help keep visitors and staff safe.

The parks, car parks, toilets and play equipment will be open to the public.

Visitors will need to observe the current rules on social distancing, particularly in places that could become crowded such as the car parks and toilets.

Important changes to note before you visit:

Read our full statement and FAQs here.

Danbury Country Park is an award-winning (Green Flag) and grade II listed park and garden set in the remains of the 13th century Danbury Palace. It is perfect for walking, families with young children and picnics with friends. The park is known for its historic lakes, ancient woodland, wildflower meadows, formal lawned garden and a Victorian rhododendron collection. The park is accessible with well-maintained paths and many seating areas around the lake and across the park. You can take a path around the lakes, through the formal lawn garden and down to the Ice House, or choose the woodland route through dappled shade and ancient trees to the wildflower meadow which was once part of the medieval deer park. On both routes you will see a variety of wildlife including squirrels, ducks and if you are lucky a deer.

There are three historic lakes in total. Visitors can fish the lower lake from 8:00 am till dusk, by obtaining a fishing permit here. Late spring is a good time to see ducklings and spectacular displays from the 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. Surviving historic structures include an ice house where before refrigerators, ice was collected from the lakes in winter and stored for the palace kitchens.

History

Danbury Country Park has been a feature in the Essex landscape for over 700 years. Created in the time of King Henry III it was a typical medieval deer park. It is likely the lakes started to be landscaped at this time too.

As time passed and fashions in landscape use changed the park provided the grand setting for a great Tudor House, which later lent itself to the landscaped parks pioneered by "Capability" Brown in the second half of the 17th Century.

The Tudor house was owned by a variety of families and from 1830 - 1845 the house fell into disrepair in the 1810s and 1820s until 1845 when the Church of England purchased the property for the Bishop of Rochester and hence became known as Danbury Palace.

During the 1890s the estate changed hands several times. One of the owners stripped the park, felling 429 trees for their timber value. The western side of the park lost the most trees.

During the WWII the Wigans opened their doors to pregnant women from the East End of London and the Palace became a maternity hospital. There now stands a Blue Plaque to commemorate this in the lawned border.

In 1947 the Palace and estate were sold to Essex Country Council and became home to the mid-Essex Technical college and in 1974 the County Council designated the south-eastern quarter of the estate a Country Park, so today its rich history can be enjoyed by everyone.

Activities

For children

Danbury Country Park runs several regular activities for children and families including sessions such as Wild Wednesday and Weekend Family Forest School, helping to build a lifelong appreciation of the outdoors.

Children can also enjoy walking, running, kicking through the autumn leaves,cycling and visiting the ducks all year round.

Walking

The park’s accessible, well-maintained hard-surface tracks are great for walking. There are plenty of seats and picnic benches to have a rest or a bite to eat. The lakeside path takes you alongside the tranquil waters where you can watch ducks, swans and carp, and past the ornamental gardens.

Fishing

Fishing Season is from 16th June to 14th March, Adults £5.00 and children £2.50. A day ticket is available to purchase here. You must have a rod licence to fish at the park. Fishing is from 8:00 am until 30 minutes before dusk. Fishing is not allowed in the Mid lake and Top lake. You can only fish at the Lower Lake (you can find this south of the wildflower meadow, to the west of the park).

Volunteering

Join our weekly volunteer group and learn new skills, whilst helping the environment & wildlife.

Volunteering at Danbury Country Park is hands-on and a great way to meet people, learn about conservation, improve your health, and well being getting exercise and fresh air.

Practical volunteer work helps maintain this award-winning park gain its Green Flag status, and a great place for people and wildlife. On-site training and PPE is provided for all tasks that the volunteers carry out. All tools are provided, just make sure you have sturdy footwear (steel toe caps preferred),suitable outdoor clothing (including sunhat and sun cream) and a packed lunch.

Takes place: every Tuesday, 10am – 3pm.

Facilities

Toilets

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.

Accessibility

Danbury Country Park has well maintained, accessible footpaths with many being hard-surfaced.

For full information on access to Danbury Country Park can be found on AccessAble, formerly Disabled Go.

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