Self-catering holiday accommodation around Hadleigh, Essex


Hadleigh lies sandwiched between Leigh-on-Sea, Benfleet and Canvey Island. The A13 runs through it, and to the visitor driving through,  it's just another extension of the urban sprawl from Southend-on-Sea.

Hadleigh Castle Country Park between Benfleet and Leigh-on-Sea

However, it has a country park; Hadleigh Castle Country Park that's worth getting to know.  There is access to the park from Benfleet Station, and a short walk away from Leigh-on-Sea station on the east of the park (station car parks are free at weekends). If you're travelling by car, a parking fee (£2 in 2003) is payable on entry to the car park, which  helps pay for the maintenance of the park and toilets. A noticeboard displays  events and specific walks like 'a glow-worm hunt', or 'Spookie walk' advertised (Telephone 01702 551072).   

SElf-catering in Essex - Lovely walks surrounded by woodland and flower-filled meadows.  Find self-catering holiday lets in Essex Stay in Essex for an interesting and varied holiday. Find self-catering cotatges, houses, bungalows, apartments and other accommodation.
Lovely views of the Essex countryside from Hadleigh Castle Country Park

There are several waymarked trails through the country park, e.g. 1.25 or 2 hours.Ruins of Hadleigh Castle, Essex Cycling and horse-riding are encouraged, dogs should be kept on leads.  We found the trails and landmarks very well signposted. Depending on where you walk, you may see the ruins of Hadleigh Castle, a 13th century fortress, or the handsome water tower on the hill. There are excellent views of Benfleet estuary, Canvey Island, and on clear days it's possible to see Southend Pier, across to Kent and the Dartford Bridge, and even the triangular roof of Canary Wharf in the east of London.

The park covers a fairly extensive area and would require several days to fully explore. Walking in the park is rather like stepping back in time to the Essex of old; leafy and green, with wild flowers, birdsong, squirrels, rabbits, butterflies and wonderful views.  Another amazing thing about it, is that it's slightly hilly.  

dragonflies in Essex country parksIn June, when we visited, the wild roses were in full bloom, buttercups graced the meadows, there were brilliant blue dragonflies hovering in the long grass, exotic red and black flies darted about with multi-coloured butterflies.  The bird song was magnificent and although there is plenty of cover for birds, we saw a good variety of species to satisfy the most ardent birdwatcher.  There are two bird hides at Two Tree Island where you can watch water birds feeding at the lagoon. 


Each part of the park is interesting in its own way.  It's amazing how certain species of plants dominate certain areas according to the conditions.  There were sections where brambles stretched for long distances, wild flower meadows, dense thickets, dog rose lined lanes, buttercup speckled grassland, perfect for picnics, and parts that the rabbits obviously favoured; rabbit families sat contentedly chewing grass, then scampered into the undergrowth on our approach.




A reminder of Essex countryside from years past

In the spring there are bluebells to enjoy and crisp snowy walks in winter.  Parks like Hadleigh Country Park are national treasures to be enjoyed by all, but we found people few and far between, the car parks almost deserted, which makes it a real haven of peace and tranquillity in fast-paced Essex.

It's also possible to walk along the sea wall and front from Benfleet to Leigh-on-Sea and on to Westcliff and Southend-on-Sea.

If you're planning a short or longer break in the Essex area, you will discover that there is much to see and do.  Apart from beautiful countryside there is an extensive coastline; sandy beaches, a long tradition of sailing, medieval villages, arts and crafts, and numerous visitor attractions.

2012 sees welcomes the Olympic Games to England and the mountain bike events are held in Hadleigh. Anyone attending thes eevents should stay longer and explore some of Essex for a rewarding and exciting break in the south east.

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