The 100 acre Great Notley Garden Village Country Park has a number of unusual and distinctive features including: pleasant walks, an open air amphitheatre known as the Great Notley Bowl, 6 acres of lakes, incorporating extensive reed habitat and bank-side vegetation, which are rich in wildlife. There are a number of hillocks throughout the park most of which are capped with young wood copses. These provide ideal habitats for small birds and rabbits. The ditch and hedgerows running through the park are remnants of the old agricultural layout. Lined with old oak trees these hedgerows are inhabited by a great number of insects and birds.
Great Notley Country Park also contains large meadows. Some of which are cut for hay, others are left to establish as wildflower meadows, an important habitat for insects and ground nesting birds such as the skylark.
Five small ponds are scattered in the park as well, some of which dry up in summer - again another sort of habitat!.
A Discovery Centre will additionally be incorporated into the park in Spring 2001 and a site has also been identified for a Play And Resource Centre (PARC) for disabled children. Funding is now being sought for this project from sources such as the National Lottery.
" Great Notley Garden Village has improved the local environment and its 100 acre country park has given access to the public to be a part of the countryside which had never previously been possible to this extent. Countryside truly set out to create what others are trying to preserve and the What House? Awards are recognition of that achievement. " (Alan Cherry, Chairman of Countryside Properties Plc).
Location: The site lies in the centre of the Braintree District, south west of Braintree Town, on the west side of the A131 (the Great Notley by-pass).
Area: 40.5 ha (100 acres)
Status: Country Park
Planning Authority: Braintree District Council
Grid Ref: TL 735 213 (Discovery Centre)
Access: Free public access from five entrances: the footpath crossing the A120 to the North of the site, the underpass from Great Notley in the Northeast corner of the site, the main gate on the East Side of the site, the South Gate in the south East corner, and the footpath that runs into the park on the south side of the site.
The site is open at all times; vehicles are restricted at night. Wheelchair access is possible from the South Gate, the underpass and the Main Gate.
Rights of Way: A footpath runs across the A120 into the north end of the park straight across the football pitches. It swings westwards around a pond and runs between the Great Notley Bowl crescent and the Bowl itself before exiting the park. This path is soon to be diverted to enter the park using the bridge over the A120 and running down the East Side of the Bowl. The other right of way in the Country Park enters the southern end near the dipping platform on the large lake. It simply follows the southern boundary of the site eastwards and exits the park through the South Gate and crosses the A131. There is a net work of 'permissive' paths across the country park.
Services: The Discovery Centre is situated in the north of the park. This provides visitor amenities, such as toilets, changing rooms, refreshments, bicycle racks and information. (Opening Spring 2001)
Bylaws: Standard bylaws for Braintree District Council open space apply to the Country Park.
Car = A120 on to A131
Rail = Nearest station is Braintree
Bus = 34 and 34a run through Braintree (Fairfield road and the Station) to Great Notley
Walking = 10 – 20 minute walk from Great Notley