Great Notley Country Park
Home to Essex's longest play trail and Sky Ropes, Great Notley Country Park offers the perfect family day out.
At a glance
4 January 2021: England enters a national lockdown.
The parks, car parks, children’s play equipment and toilets will remain open for the benefit of local communities. Skylark Cafe will continue to offer a takeaway service in-line with government guidance.
We would ask that all visitors using the Essex Country Parks follow government guidelines and ensure you practice social distancing.
Check our full FAQs and plan your visit in advance.
Check government guidance here.
Please note, tree works will be taking place at Great Notley on 25 January. Some pathways may be temporarily closed until the work is completed.
Whether you're an adventurer at heart or just want to relax and unwind in Essex's beautiful countryside, Great Notley Country Park offers the perfect day out for all the family.
Covering 100 acres of open space the park is home to Sky Ropes, the fun, family friendly high ropes adventure course as well as Essex’s longest kid’s play trail.
Jump, swing, slide, crawl and climb your way around 1.2km of fun including giant see-saws, swing scales, a climbing forest, rope climbers, slides, forts and a large sand play area. (Please note, parts of our play trail are currently closed for maintenance, including waterplay, climbing forest, Queen swing, hex swing, swing scales, cross scales, jack straws and suspension bridge. They will be closed until at least the end of February).
Looking for something a bit quieter? The park also offers some lovely areas to explore and enjoy nature including a fishing lake and wildflower meadows. It’s popular for a wide range of activities including birdwatching, walking, cycling, fishing, horse riding, football, picnics and kite-flying.
Great Notley Country Park is delighted to have been awarded Green Flag status again this year as well as being nominated for the Fields in Trust Award for Best UK Park 2019.
Excavations in Great Notley revealed the remains of Iron Age and Roman settlements with a series of enclosures overlaid with a Roman development on the site of the Skyline Business Park. It is thought that there was a series of occupations on the site from the late Iron Age onwards, which included brewing, farming and the production of textiles.
Great Notley Country Park however is relatively new, having been created from the remnants of Gt Notley Village when it was developed as part of the new 'self-sustaining' garden village.
It has grown up with the community surrounding it, and is quite unique in that its wildflower meadows, lakes and other landmarks were created from scratch and over the years have grown and developed in to what you see today.
Looking for a thrill and an unforgettable adventure with family and friends? Try Sky Ropes - Great Notley Country Park’s high ropes experience. There’s also Sky Ropes Junior, suitable for children from 2 years.
Kid’s Play Trail
Come and explore our 1.2km play trail featuring a giant see-saw, climbing forest, tyre swings, sand play area, rope climbers, slides, forts and much more. Please note, parts of our play trail are currently closed for maintenance. The following areas are closed: waterplay, climbing forest, Queen swing, hex swing, swing scales, cross scales, jack straws and suspension bridge. They will be closed until at least the end of February.
Walking & Dogs
We strive to be accessible to all and as such our pathways are relatively flat. As well as many informal grassy pathways our main trail takes you around the park, including the play trail, lakes, wildflower meadows (where you can see wild orchids and ox-eye daisies depending on the season) and a small woodland. It’s a good route for dog walkers however we do ask that they are kept on the lead while in the play trail section.
Birdwatching & Wildlife
Bird and wildlife spotting are popular activities while out walking at Great Notley Country Park. You could see anything from skylarks, owls and woodpeckers to bats, foxes and weasels.
A 1.8-km cycling and horse-riding route cuts north-south through Great Notley Country Park. A fairly flat, hard-surface track, it’s perfect for cycling as a family and a great place for younger children to become more confident on their bikes. Please note that we don't currently have any hire facilities, so bring your own!
You can fish in the large lake in the south of the park every day during park opening hours (night fishing is forbidden). Fishing is free, but you need an Environment Agency rod license (from ages 12+). Barbed hooks, keep nets are not allowed, and any fish caught must be returned to the lake. We ask that visitors take home all rubbish as there are no waste facilities provided.
Football Pitches and Games Area
The park’s 3G (3rd Generation) artificial turf football pitches are suitable for playing in all weather. There are full and half pitches, and a multi-use game area (MUGA) for tennis, basketball, netball and more.
To hire our football pitches or games area, call Braintree District Council on 01376 332326.
Horse riding is popular at the park with the designated horse-riding route cutting North-South through the park. Bring your own horse, and please stick to the bridleway.
Want to give something back or learn something new? We work closely with the Friends of the Flitch Way and Associated Woodlands. We meet every Tuesday and Thursday (during term-time) at 9.15 outside Rayne Village Hall so come along, get involved and learn some new skills – you might find yourself helping to construct fencing or even a bridge! Contact Wendy Moss on 01376 329245 for more information.
The Visitor's Centre (Discovery Centre)
The reception is located on the ground floor and is open 9am to 4pm daily. For enquiries please call 03330 132900.
Public toilets are located at the park’s visitor centre and include accessible and baby changing facilities.
Open 9.30am to 5pm in the summer and 9.30am to 4pm in winter.
A changing places facility located on the ground floor at the rear of the visitor's centre. It is open every day from 8am until dusk. Access is at the back of the centre, which is all paved.
Full information on access to Great Notley Country Park can be found on AccessAble (formerly Disabled Go).
Room Hire: Meetings, Conferences and Parties
Our conference room in the Discovery Centre has fantastic views across the park. It can hold from 20 people boardroom-style to 50 people theatre-style, with a projector and whiteboard available. It also offers a small kitchenette and arrangements can be made with Lilies at Notley to provide food and/or drinks. This inspiring space is great for conferences, meetings and parties alike. If you would like to book or make an enquiry, please call 03330 132900 or email email@example.com.
Shop, Eat & Drink
Eating & Drinking
The café offers indoor and outdoor seating and serves a range of hot and cold food and drink with menus changing seasonally. This includes a good selection of ice cream flavours, perfect for hot summer days, and coffee and hot chocolate for when you need to warm up.
Skylark cafe is open from 8.30am-3.30pm at weekends and 9am-3pm on weekdays.
For enquiries please call 03330 132900
Festive opening times: Closed Christmas and Boxing Day.