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Published August 19th 2012
Feed the deer and immerse yourself in history
A visit to Weald Country Park in Brentwood is the perfect way to escape from the city. The park is the largest country park in Essex with rolling hills, a woodland area and a large lake covering over 550 acres of land.
As you arrive at Weald Country Park, you will immediately notice a large area of the parkland sectioned off for their stunning collection of deer. To get really close to these animals it is best to purchase some deer food from the visitor centre for 50p. The deer will then immediately come running up to you as soon as you approach the gates and happily eat from your hands. The deer are extremely friendly and children love to feed, pet and get close to these astonishing animals. Weald Country Park is over 700 years old and was once a Royal Hunting Estate where deer like this used to roam freely. The deer are now in an enclosed area and cared for in the park to remind people of how the parkland used to be.
Once you have fed and admired the deer, you can then take a walk around the lake and view the different varieties of ducks and birds that inhabit the lake. The lake also attracts many fishermen. A great way of exploring the lake is to purchase a fishing rod from the visitors centre for the day and have a go yourself. Fishing rods are £5 for adults and £2.50 for children.
As you make your way around the lake, you will come to a bird hide where you can look out for birds and see the best view of the scenic lake and the landscape. There is also a woodland walk which is perfect for exploring with the kids. The woodland floor is covered in bluebells in the spring which makes it picture perfect.
On the other side of the park lays an old brick staircase which visitors can climb up to discover the historic ruins of the Belvedere Temple that once looked over the parkland. The name of the temple, 'Belvedere' is Italian for 'beautiful view,' and definitely lives up to its name. This area would have once been covered in beautiful gardens over 700 years ago overlooking the lake and leading to the tower, which was once used as a family museum by the Tower family.
The amount of picnic spots available in this park is uncountable. There are plenty of picnic benches scattered around the fields in some picturesque spots overlooking the parkland and the lake. The trees provide the only shelter from the rain around the lake; however there are some sheltered picnic tables in the corner of the park near to the church. BBQs are not allowed anywhere in the park, however there is a café by the entrance of the car park that offers hot food and sells ice-creams and refreshments. Tea is 90p, ice-cream is £1.70 for one scoop and cold drinks are around £1-£1.50.
The visitors centre by the café provides information about the landscape and the history of the parkland. Activities for children can also be found here such as investigating wildlife, kite making and Halloween walks. Educational walks and can also be booked to learn about the history and wildlife in the park. The best idea to amuse the kids is to pick up a trail sheet for £3 from the visitors centre, and then bring it back completed after your visit for a reward.
Weald Country Park has so much to offer with its spectacular wildlife, scenic landscape and history. A day out here is sure to be unforgettable. Entrance into the park is free, however it costs £2.20 to park in the car park.