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Ancient Forests and Landscape Gardens - Part 4, Bedfords Park
Bedfords Park lies about half a mile from the very pretty village of Havering-atte-Bower, less than fifteen minutes drive along some distinctly dangerous country lanes from where I live. I used to ride out of the riding school at Havering - one of the oldest riding schools in the country and in the hands of the same family since it was founded - and on summer evenings we used to take the bridleway that eventually exits through the Bedfords Park access road. It was from that bridleway that I first saw the views that are one of the park's features.

View to the South

That one is from outside the information centre, a sustainable development building which sits neatly on the hillside.

Visitor Centre

The centre is run by the Essex Wildlife Trust, as it the park itself.

Bedfords Park is in the second half of my heading and originally came with a 15th Century mansion. However, that fell down, and all that remains is the walled garden, also falling down, dangerous and inaccessible.

Gate to the Walled Garden

Though the reservoir that once fed those inaccessible gardens still holds its water - and lots of weed.

Reservoir for walled garden

Near the Visitor Centre, the origin of the park in the landscaped gardens of a big house is clear, both the close mown grass and the splendid specimen trees.


Needles weep

Not to mention the deer park!

Red Deer Hinds

Red Deer Under the Trees 1

Much of the rest of the park is covered with standard Essex woods, mainly beech and oak, with a few (mainly unpollarded) hornbeams. Nothing extraordinary, but pleasant to walk through.

Edge of the Woods

[to be continued.]

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