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  • Essex Parks

Visit this super kid friendly Essex Nature Reserve

Parndon Wood Nature Reserve is home to beautiful ancient woodlands. The reserve is managed and maintained by environmental charity ECCO. Whilst we always love a walk in teh woods, this reserve is especially kid friendly. Set in Harlow, this nature reserve is also a bit of a hidden gem. There is so much for children including den building, minibeast hunting, walking trails, nature hides and regular school holiday events.

Where is Parndon Wood Nature Reserve?

📍Parndon Wood Nature Reserve 


CM19 4SF 

🅿️ Parking

Free car parking ⁣

Parndon Woods Opening Times

Mondays: Closed

Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday: 11am to 4pm

Thursday: 4pm to 9pm

Friday: 11am to 4pm

Saturday: 10am to 4pm

Sunday: 11am to 4pm

Conservation Centre

The Conservation Centre is conveniently located close to the entrance of Parndon Woods Nature Reserve. At the centre you can borrow bug hunting kits and hire binoculars. The small and basic centre is also home to toilets (including accessible and baby change). There is also a cafe serving tea, coffee, cakes, chocolate bars and ice creams. There is limited inside seating but lots of benches outside

Conservation Centre Parndon Woods Nature Reserve
Conservation Centre

Den Building at Parndon Woods Nature Reserve

Who doesn't love den building? There is a designated Den Building at Parndon Woods. The area is close to the entrance and conservation centre, before you reach the main trail. Whilst of course you can build dens throughout woodlands, it's lovely that these dens remain. My children love seeing what has been added to the dens, or changed on each visit.

Den Building Area Parndon Woods Nature Reserve
Den Building Area

Bug Hotel at Parndon Woods Nature Reserve

Now that is a big bug hotel! Children will love bug spotting. The large bug hotel is located opposite the den building area.

Bug Hotel Parndon Woods Nature Reserve
Bug Hotel

Kid Friendly Trails

The main trail here is around 1.5km in length and takes you through the woodland. It takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour to complete. For us it was the perfect length with children. There are further trails if you would like a longer walk. The pathway is mainly grassy/leafy with some wooden bridge footways. The trails are hilly but passable with a sturdy buggy.

Nature Hide 

Along the main trail route there are two nature hides. The Fazakerley Hide offers a spectacular elevated view point across the pond. Inside the Fazakerley Hide there are lots of informative posters to help wildlife spotting. The views really are beautiful.

Fazakerley Nature Hide Parndon Woods
Nature Hide


Regular events held by the ECCO. Past events include Mothers Day afternoon tea, bat safari and sunset acoustic music sessions. There are often events and trails during the school holidays. Events seem to be most up to date on the Parndon Woods Facebook Page.


🛝 Playground ❌

☕ Cafe ✅

ℹ Visitor Centre/Shop ✅

🚻 Toilets ✅

♿ Accessible ✅

🪑 Picnic Tables ✅

🐶 Dog Friendly ❌

At least 1 hour

If you are looking for a woodland with a playground then check out our post

Post last updated February 2024


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