“Every day is different - today I saw a flock of parakeets and a handful of jays. My dogs love swimming in the lakes and streams.” “We always enjoy it. There are lakes and fields to play football with the kids. It’s nice to be close to the nature.” – reviews on Trip Advisor
With over 300 acres in South Essex, Belhus Woods combines ancient woodland, working woods, flower meadows, open grassland, and fishing and conservation lakes. It’s a great place to walk your dog, picnic by the lake, feed the ducks, go fishing or spot wildlife. There are many activities throughout the year for families and nature enthusiasts, such as riding the model railway, archery and watching model boats.
8am to dusk
01708 865 628
9 August 2017
22 July and 3 September
14 June, 16 August 2017
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
Season parking and more
Money from parking goes toward maintaining the park and protecting its wildlife. Please note: the parking machines will be shortly be able to take the new £1 coins but please consider bringing a card for payment in the meantime or ask for a coin swap at the Visitor Centre
Kids love Belhus Woods, whether kicking a ball around in the open spaces or riding the miniature railway.
Our weekly Puddleducks session is a popular pre-school children’s activity. Led by rangers and accompanied by an adult, children find new ways to interact with the wild surroundings, building a lifelong love of the outdoors.
Why not read a book with your child under a tree? We have story bags available, which contain books, activity sheets and den building kits and can be used free of charge during your visit to the park. Just come to the visitor centre to borrow your bag.
Belhus Woods is an accessible site for walking, with flat terrain, and open and denser areas of woodland. You can pass through many habitats, such as ancient woodland, coppice plantations, reed beds, wildflower meadows and conservation lakes, and really feel like you’re escaping the hustle and bustle.
Cycle paths at Belhus Woods take you through all kinds of surroundings, from grassland to meadows and lakes. The flat terrain makes it a great place for the novice cyclist, and the large car parks offer plenty of space to load and unload bikes.
Bike racks at the Visitor Centre make it easy to pop in to grab a drink.
Birdwatchers find interesting species in abundance at Belhus Woods. Bird life includes mute swans, tufted ducks, woodpeckers, kingfishers, kestrels and lapwings. In winter, you’ll see small flocks of finches, such as siskins and redpolls.
Major tree species include English oak, field maple and hornbeam.
You’ll also see many beautiful wildflowers such as bluebell, early purple orchid and lily-of-the-valley.
A short walk from the Visitor Centre, ride the Docklands and East London model engineering society’s model railway for just 60p. See the model railway in action.
West Essex Bowmen’s archery club is one of largest in country, meeting regularly in the field near the Visitor Centre, catering to all from beginners to advanced. Beginner courses are held over three Saturdays in April and September, with qualified coaches teaching safety and basic technique. Contact the club for more information.
Families love to come and watch the beautifully made model boats on the main lake each Sunday 9am to 2pm with model boat enthusiasts Grays Thurrock Model Boat Club.
Fishing lakes are marked on the Belhus Woods map - PDF 365KB. You can fish all year round with up to two rods, a rod license and permit from the ranger at the lake for £6, or £3 concession.
If you fish regularly, come to the Visitor Centre and buy a season ticket for £100, or £55 concession. Bring two passport photos, your rod license, proof of address and a form of ID.
Volunteering at Belhus Woods is hands-on - a great way to meet people, learn about conservation, get a bit of exercise and make a difference to the Woods. You’ll get to have a go at many tasks, such as coppicing, clearing ditches and creating habitats.
Our weekly volunteer sessions are led by our Rangers on Thursday mornings from 9:30am till 12:30pm. If you are interested in joining us, please call 01708 865 628 or email BelhusWoods.CountryPark@essex.gov.uk
Open daily from 9am to 4pm, and has:
Toilets, including disabled and baby changing facilities.
The tearoom, offering light refreshments such as ice creams, hot and cold drinks, snacks and sandwiches.
The shop sells food to feed the ducks and a range of wood products produced on site, such as charcoal and logs, bird boxes, feeders and tables, coppice wood stakes and heatherings for hedges. We also take on many bespoke wooden projects for homes and have made some great items for weddings, such as cake bases, place card settings and tea light stands. Get in touch if you’ve got an idea – we’re happy to discuss new projects.
Our large function room is available for hire has good natural light, 10 tables, 40 chairs and a smart TV that can be linked to a laptop for presentations or music. The room has private access and is close to the woodlands and carpark. If you want to hire a space for meetings, functions or a party where your guests will benefit from the tranquil, beautiful surroundings, please call us for availability and prices.
You can borrow one of our 4×4 (four-wheel drive) All-Terrain Tramper mobility scooters for free if you:
Friends of Belhus Woods works alongside Essex County Council in protecting and improving Belhus Woods. They come up with great ideas for developing the park, raise funds and carry out practical tasks such as path clearance and bridge building alongside the Rangers. Please contact us to get involved.
Our outdoor learning team runs curriculum-linked activity days across all Essex’s country parks, designed to release children’s imagination and encourage their creativity. Find out more about educational activities at the park.