“Wildlife in abundance. Totally unspoilt. Walk to your heart’s content and enjoy the great views.” “Mountain bikers could choose between easy, moderate or “severe” courses. There were also areas to practice on jumps and other obstacles – a great place to learn.” – reviews from Trip Advisor
Hadleigh Park offers something for everyone – idyllic countryside, magnificent views, important historical sites and one of the UK’s top mountain biking courses. It’s a perfect place for picnics and wildlife watching, or to try something a little more challenging.
Home of mountain biking at the London 2012 Olympics, this world-class sporting venue boasts a huge network of bike trails alongside a large car park, café, bike shop and hire, classroom and children’s play area. The tracks are free to ride.
Not a pro? Don’t worry – we’ve added extra trails to the Olympic course so that anyone can have a go.
At 152 hectares (387 acres), Hadleigh Park is one of the largest in Essex, renowned for its views and undulating hills, pasture, hay meadow and marsh, old hedgerows and ponds, making it an ideal place to walk.
In spring, the bluebells, archangel and celandine put on a magnificent display. Summer sees the meadows in bloom with scores of butterflies drifting over, ideal for a picnic. In autumn, blackberries and sloes are a great attraction. Winter brings large flocks of birds and perhaps a chance to go sledging!
Step back and glimpse history at the replica Iron Age roundhouse adjacent to the carpark or take a pleasant 1km walk to visit the impressive 13th century ruin of Hadleigh Castle. The Salvation Army’s Hadleigh Farm with its tea rooms and rare breed centre has been supporting community members to develop employment skills for over 100 years.
• Hadleigh Park main website
• Hadleigh Park map and trail guide – PDF, 1MB.
• Iron Age Roundhouse guide – PDF, 175KB
• Thank you for paying the small fee to use our carpark. This money goes exclusively toward maintaining the park and protecting its wildlife.
Hadleigh Park was home to mountain biking at the 2012 Olympics. Since the games, the tracks have been maintained and more added to suit all abilities. The tracks are free to ride.
Want to get a bit more serious about it? Get in touch with Hadleigh Mountain Bike Club.
Walking at Hadleigh Park covers varied terrain and can take you through trees, pasture, meadows and marsh. You can also enjoy spotting and identifying fauna and flora, including many rare species.
Our walking trails have been recently resurfaced to make them more accessible for people who use electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Here are a couple of ideas for walks of around 90 minutes:
• Round trip to Hadleigh Castle: From Chapel Lane car park, walk downhill until you reach the marsh, turn left towards the castle and follow the path until you reach the farm track, rising steeply to the castle. To return to Chapel Lane car park, head out of the castle towards the Salvation Army tea rooms and follow the road with the white houses – Sea View Terrace – to a farm track which takes you to the park’s entrance.
• Sea wall walk: A level walk from Benfleet to Leigh-on-Sea offers magnificent views over the downs and Benfleet Creek. Enter through Benfleet Moorings near Benfleet railway station, or next to the golf driving range near Leigh-on-Sea station.
We have a modern play area for children as well as plenty of open space for them to run around. Children also enjoy spotting evidence of wildlife, such as badger setts and mole hills. We hold regular events for children.
Our replica Iron Age roundhouse is based on a floor plan from an archaeological excavation at Little Waltham, near Chelmsford. It is fitted out internally as a Chieftain’s house, with a fire pit, private quarters and a kitchen area. Read a brochure about the roundhouse and find out about upcoming roundhouse open days.
From the 1890s, The Salvation Army offered work and shelter to the area’s poor at Hadleigh Farm. The centre now helps unemployed and marginalised people retrain and find employment, as well as producing crops and raising livestock. On site there is a farm shop, tea room and rare breeds centre.
Riders can enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside without encountering a road. There are stunning views of the Thames Estuary and on a good day as far as Southend Pier and the World War II anti-aircraft defence towers.
Designated routes for horse riding are marked on our Map of Hadleigh Park – PDF, 1MB. We ask that horse riders stay on the designated routes.
Volunteering at Hadleigh Park is a truly great experience for people looking to develop skills, build their CV, and protect and enhance the park. To get involved, just register as an Active Essex Ambassador.
Showers and public toilets are available within the park, including disabled and baby changing facilities at The Hub.
Buy or hire bikes and must-have equipment at our new bike shop.
Run by The Salvation Army, The Hub Café sources local seasonal produce for a changing menu designed to reduce your waiting time and maximise your park time, including salads, soup, rolls, pastries, fruit pots, chips and hot drinks.
In the Hub, visitors can focus on their sense of touch, vision, hearing, smell and taste, experiencing well-being and togetherness in the sensory room. It also can be specially adapted for children and adults with autism or learning difficulties. On open days the sensory room can be used for free; other days it can be booked through the gift shop, next to the Hub Cafe.
Hadleigh Park offers a range of venue hire options, including outdoor events, corporate events and our bright and modern meeting facilities.
Our education activities are designed around the National Curriculum, and can be tailored for any age group and many learning requirements. Our replica Iron Age Roundhouse is a great place to study periods from the Stone Age through to the Roman invasion.