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Summary: A country park with an ancient landscape and important wood pasture, but overmanaged grasslands. There is a large lake with a dam and extensive woodlands in the northern part, with several planted copses of various conifers. There are several car parks around the boundary and also footpaths. This Park is managed by Essex.
Description: The soils are mainly clay deposits with gravels, making slopes and hills. Most of the area was privately owned as a landscaped parkland with trees, and the eastern part of the present park is more or less as it was. Small woodland plantations, mostly of conifers, have been added bit by bit to the whole park, and the Coxtie Green landfill site is also now in the park. Most of the park is grassland, much of it, especially in the southern and south-western part, is mown regularly and species pooor. The old parkland in the eastern part is much more interesting and grazed from time to time by cattle. This part is rich in fungi and has quite a good variety of higher plants. There is a private house surrounded by woodland to the north. The south-eastern part has a cricket field adjacent to the road which is rich in grassland fungi and thus is probably old like the old Park nearby. The woodland areas include some bits of ancient semi-natural woodland and some landscaped and planted areas eg Sweet Chestnut, which are also rich in fungi, but the conifer areas are rather poor in fungi or, indeed, in anything else alive. The large lake is not very exciting as far as plants or fungi are concerned, but there are a variety of water birds. Several small streams run down into the lake, and these wet areas provide greater habitat diversity. Fallow Deer are kept in an enclosure in the south-western part. In 2006 there were 2 Hornets nests in old Oak trees, one on the north bank of the lake and the other higher up by the old carriageway.
Reason for interest: The old Park area in the East is very good for fungi. The broad-leaved woodlland areas are also quite rich in fungi.
Comment: This Park is great for walking and family outings, and there are some good views from the higher slopes. There are many paths, mostly just mud, so it is not very good for people in wheel-chairs or pushchairs. It is not of great wildlife interest on the whole. The Olympics in 2012 will use part of the Park for cycling circuits so there will be a lot of disturbance. It will be interesting to see how much this changes the wildlife in the area.
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