Harlow Town Park was designed by Dame Sylvia Crowe and opened in 1957. The park covers 164 acres and includes Water, Newfoundland, Specimen, Sensory and Walled Gardens, the Stort Valley Meadows and Peace Wood, paddling pool, bandstand, Skate Park, Outdoor gym, Adventure playground, plus Pets' Corner and Spurriers House.
Annual events include a Bonfire and Fireworks night, fairs and circuses on the Showground and bands and concerts on the outdoor bandstand. With a number of attractions for all the family throughout the year, Harlow Town Park is the ideal place for adults and children enjoy. You can also experience the natural wildlife, relax and explore the beautiful surroundings.
Harlow Council received a grant of £1.83m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) as part of the £2.8m restoration of Harlow Town Park, with around £800,000 spent on the Pets' Corner refurbishment. The HLF works to the Town Park were completed in 2016 and the post of Education and Volunteer officer will be funded by HLF and the Council for 2016-19.
The Town Park is officially one of the finest parks in the country, after receiving a sought after Green Flag award in 2017 for the second year running. Green Flag Awards recognise and reward the best parks in the country.
The Town Park has also won the Bees Needs Award 2016. Habitat loss is a key factor affecting pollinator population and this award recognises the Town Park’s increased awareness and contribute to improved pollinator-friendly environments, making positive changes to the park that encourage and increase pollinator-friendly habitats and food sources throughout the year.
- Town Park and Stort Valley Marshes map (pdf)
- History of the Town Park (pdf)
- Harlow Town Park Management Plan 2015-20 (pdf)
For more details on the volunteering, awards or future developments of the Town Park please contact Mike Levett, Education and Volunteer officer on 01279 435466 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Harlow Town park update May 2017
It has been a busy time in the park, including the following developments:
- Spurriers House - café is now open and proving popular for visitors with its indoor and outdoor seating areas and extensive menu; refurbishment of the flats is nearly completed.
- Construction of a disabled toilet with funding from the Changing Places Essex County Council scheme at the new entrance to Pets Corner
- Walled Garden - Harlow College students and Town Park volunteers are building new nature trail and planting up beds for summer season; plus improving shrub beds around the park;
- Events planned from 29 May - 4 June to celebrate the Town Park’s 60th anniversary from Brass Band, talks and walks and children’s activities, please see the events calendar for more information
- Bandstand stage area and interior has been repainted by Harlow College students
- Wildflower Meadow Project - the Stort Valley Meadows continues
Harlow Town Park is 60
Help us to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Harlow Town Park and 70 years for Harlow (new town). More information on Harlow is 70 events
The Water Garden is fed by natural springs from their southern end. The springs originally provided fresh flowing water that was naturally filtered by sand and gravel, providing an ideal environment for the watercress beds that were located from the 1920’s to 1960’s. After this the area was landscaped into the current layout of three cascading ponds. The centrepiece is the Pisces sculpture by Jesse Watkins originally installed here in 1973 as part of a retrospective exhibition of his sculptures and graphics. Pisces is one of many sculptures located across Harlow that form part of the town’s sculpture trail. The trail includes several sculptures of national significance. The ponds were dredged and the whole area restored as part of the HLF works in 2015.
Created in 1997 to celebrate the twin anniversaries of Harlow (1947) and the discovery of Newfoundland (1497). The garden consists of a small collection of planted beds on a grass bank filled with Newfoundland native trees and shrubs.
Built on former allotments, this original Town Park feature was conceived as a demonstration garden for the new residents of the Harlow to view different plants for use in domestic settings. This area contains a variety of specimen trees many of which are now mature. As part of the HLF works a new path through the garden was constructed that links the Town Park to the Town Centre.
A small garden opened 27 June 1984 built as a scented garden for the blind, constructed in memory of Millicent Bach with formal rose beds enclosed by hooped metal railings. The area was restored by the Town Park volunteers in 2015 and renamed the Sensory Garden and now contains shrubs grown for their sensory nature- i.e. smell, touch, colour.
The Walled Garden, located next to Pets' Corner, is managed by the Town Park and Pets' Corner volunteers and other groups such as Harlow College and Open Road. The Walled Garden contains a polytunnel, greenhouse, raised beds, nature trail, demonstration bee garden and beehive where local people and groups can grow vegetables for their use; the beehive supplies honey when available, which is sold in the Pets' Corner gift shop.
Future plans for the Walled Garden include the old mess building being demolished and replaced by a classroom, improving the facilities for education and volunteering; and opening the Walled Garden to visitors weekly from June 2017.
Peace Wood bench installed
A new seat has been made and installed by Harlow Conservation Volunteers in May 2017, using wood from Parndon Wood Nature Reserve. The bench was created to mark the town's 70th birthday and the Town Park’s 60th anniversary. The bench has been placed in a clearing in the Peace Wood in the Town Park where people can rest and enjoy the wildlife of the wood.
The bandstand was constructed in 1973 providing free concerts and other events. As part of HLF works the bandstand was refurbished.
Harlow’s popular outdoor gym facility, which opened in the Town Park in 2015 has eight pieces of equipment that enable people to get a full body workout. The equipment includes a set of triple pull-up bars, a sit-up bench, a step box multi-gym, a chest press/pull down, a swingalong, a set of hurdles, a set of parallel bars and a balance beam.
Built in the 1860s Spurriers House was originally an estate of eight acres incorporating stables, gardens and lodge. The ground floor of the house now forms part of the Town Park with a café.
We are delighted to announce that the new café is open for business. Serving a wide range of food, freshly prepared & cooked to order, including all day breakfast, porridge oats with tasty toppings, large jacket potatoes, kids meal specials, homemade soup, sandwiches, rolls, baguettes & panini. A full compliment of hot & cold drinks including fresh bean coffee, Fairtrade tea, organic hot chocolate, fruit & herbal teas, pure fruit smoothies & milkshakes. Look out for the freshly baked range of homemade cakes and Styles Farmhouse Ice Cream in 10 delicious flavours.
Harlow Council, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, have produced four orienteering course routes in partnership with Chigwell and Epping Forest Orienteering Club. We encourage visitors and families to the Town park to use the maps to explore all areas of the Town park whilst undertaking some light exercise and having fun.
- Short course map and descriptions (pdf) - 1.5km long 9 controls
- Medium course map and descriptions (pdf) - 2.5km long 13 controls
- Long course map and descriptions (pdf) - 4.1 km long 17 controls
- Score course map and descriptions (pdf) - all 23 controls
Control/markers can be found across the whole of the Town Park and consist of a red and white plate - the top left hand corner shows the control/marker number, the bottom right corner has two letters which you write on the description sheet. Each of the four maps shows the route and location of the control/marker.
The maps are also available from Pets' Corner shop and Spurriers House Café.
Learning Centre - Early Years Foundation Stage and Primary School visits
The Learning Centre, built as part of HLF works, enables Pets' Corner and the Town Park to offer a variety of educational packages for a range of ages, linked to the national curriculum. These comprise of guided tours around the park and Pets' Corner, meeting the animals and learning about the park. Special introductory offer (until March 2017) - Gold Plus and Platinum packages prices are the same as the Gold package!
- Harlow Town Park and Pets' Corner Learning Centre packages (pdf)
- Harlow Town park and Pets' Corner Learning Centre booking form (pdf)
There are several pay and display car parks located around the Town Park.
Toilets are available next to Pets' Corner including a Changing Places toilet
The Changing Places Toilet is a facility for People with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well people with other physical disabilities such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis often need extra equipment and space to allow them to use the toilets safely and comfortably.
There are opportunities available for people who want to volunteer at the Town Park. Town Park volunteer leaflet (pdf)
- Town Park volunteers
Come and join the volunteers helping out with gardening and horticultural work at the Town Park. No previous experience is necessary – just an interest in working outdoors and plenty of enthusiasm is required. Tools, equipment and training are provided and in some cases travel expenses can be paid for. Town Park volunteer events are listed on the events calendar
- Town Park Users Group
If you are interested in making a positive contribution towards the ongoing management and development of the Park ;then why not join the Town Park Users Group? The group meets every quarter. New members are always welcome. Please contact Mike Ruocco on 01279 425595 or email:email@example.com for more information. Town Park user group meetings are listed on the events calendar
- Pets' Corner - volunteers and friends of Pets' Corner
Pets' Corner offers many volunteering opportunities including working with the animals, helping with events, in the gift shop or becoming a Friend of Pets' Corner. Volunteering can be for a few hours or a whole day and the Friends welcome new members over 18.