Essex Country Parks and Heritage Places close due to coronavirus public health threat

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Mother with child taking a dog for a walk in an autumn garden. Explore Essex logo.

Welcome to the Explore Essex newsletter bringing you updates from our parks and places. We aim to answer some of the questions you might have around our closures in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health threat.

Park and Heritage Venue closures announced

Essex County Council has closed Essex Country Parks, Cressing Temple Barns, Jaywick Martello Tower, Essex Record Office, our owned Mills, and Essex Outdoors.

This difficult decision was made to help limit the spread of coronavirus and with the health and safety of our visitors and staff in mind, following the government’s national guidance around gatherings and social distancing.

To confirm, this closure affects the following Country Parks:

  • Belhus Woods Country Park
  • Cressing Temple Barns
  • Cudmore Grove Country Park
  • Danbury Country Park
  • Great Notley Country Park
  • Hadleigh Country Park
  • Marsh Farm Country Park
  • Sky Ropes at Great Notley
  • Thorndon North Country Park
  • Thorndon South County Park
  • Weald Country Park

Will my Explorer Pass be extended or refunded?

Yes, we are pleased to confirm that the Explorer Pass (our ECP annual car parking season ticket) will be extended for the duration of the closure automatically.


Can we use a public footpath or bridleway?

Our ECC run Essex country parks, car parks and visitor centres are closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus for the foreseeable future. However, you can use public footpaths and bridleways as these are public rights of way.

You must observe the current UK government guidance on exercise, social distancing and gatherings when using these.

You can find an update on this here.

The current advice is you may leave the house once a day to exercise outside but you must stay at least 2 metres apart from anyone else you happen to see.

You can find out more about public rights of way here.


Are any events or activities still running?

No. We regret to announce that we’ve made the decision to cancel all events at our parks and places including Cressing Temple Barns until end July 2020, including all third party run events, in light of the evolving COVID-19 public health threat and the government’s national guidance around gatherings and social distancing.


What does this mean for weddings?

We have made the very difficult decision to suspend weddings until the end of June at the earliest at both Cressing Temple Barns and Essex Record Office.

We are in the process of contacting all those who are immediately affected by this, we are not taking any new bookings for 2020, we are pencilling in bookings for 2021, but we will not be able to confirm these until new government guidance follows in the coming months.


Are there any services available at the Essex Record Office?

We are hoping to maintain several digital services during the closure period of the physical building, all of which will be under constant review. You can access these through our website.Currently they include:

• Email enquiries about the records we hold

• Catalogue search

• Subscriptions and access to digital images of historic Essex parish registers and wills, as well as some electoral registers


Further information

For further FAQs around our closures view our coronavirus (COVID-19) information page on the Explore Essex website. 

We hope to bring you some virtual information and activities over the coming weeks, so keep checking our social media pages.

Stay Home. Stay Safe everyone.