One of the largest urban parks in the country, Harlow Town Park covers over 160 acres of beautiful green space. Designed by Dame Sylvia Crowe, the park is a Grade II listed site.
The park is home to Pets' Corner, 5 unique gardens, the bandstand, adventure playground and inclusive play area, outdoor gym, paddling pool, skate park, marshes and meadows and Spurriers House Café.
With so much to explore and a number of events for all the family throughout the year, Harlow Town Park is a favourite of both locals and visitors.
The park has received a Green Flag Award, recognising the highest quality green spaces in the country, for the last 7 years in a row.
Harlow Town Park, Harlow CM20 2QQ.
There are a number of council car parks located around the Town Park.
We also have a map of the Town Park (pdf)
There are 2 toilets in the park:
- toilet block between Pets' Corner and the Walled Garden, near the Pets' Corner play area - includes a disabled toilet.
- a Changing Places toilet next to the main Pets' Corner entrance - to use this complete a Changing Places key application request form (pdf)
Annual events include a bonfire and fireworks night, fairs and circuses on the showground and concerts on the bandstand.
For more details of events happening in the Town Park, see the events calendar.
Town Park gardens
The water garden (also known as watercress beds) is made up of 3 cascading ponds, fed by natural springs. It is a popular feature at the heart of the park, attracting both wildlife and visitors.
The ponds are home to many ducks and fish, but kingfishers and little egrets have been spotted here too. The centrepiece of the garden is the Pisces sculpture by Jesse Watkins.
At the southern end of the water garden, next to the paddling pool is the rhododendron dell, with its beautiful collection of flowering shrubs, such as rhododendrons, hydrangeas and azaleas.
Built on former allotments next to Park Lane, this garden was originally a demonstration area for the new residents of the Harlow to view different plants to use in a domestic setting.
This area contains a variety of specimen trees, such as firs, spruces and oak. An interpretation board gives more details of the history of the site.
The Newfoundland garden was planted in 1997 to commemorate the double anniversary of Harlow new town's 50th anniversary and the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Newfoundland, which Harlow is twinned with.
The garden contains Newfoundland native trees such as balsam fir, white spruce, mountain ash, and red maple. There is also a collection of native shrubs including crackerberry, cinquefoil and trailing juniper.
You can find this garden between the skate park and School Lane.
Plans for a forest garden, next to the Newfoundland garden, started in winter 2019. It has been planned by the volunteers and has three aims which are to:
- create a sustainable layered ecosystem through careful planting combinations
- incorporate edible and useful plants for the benefit of the volunteers and the general public
- encourage greater biodiversity of all wildlife through our management of the garden
The garden has been planted with trees, shrubs and perennial plants, mixed in such a way as to mimic the structure of a natural forest. We hope to produce stable soils which can hold twice as much carbon as trees. Funding for this work has been secured through local company sponsorship helping to reduce their carbon footprint through tree planting.
A climate change garden (planted by the Town Park volunteers in autumn 2019) features herbaceous perennials that:
- combine drought tolerance,
- provide a good source of nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies;
- capture air pollutants and soil contaminants.
This small circular bed is at the top of the Cherry Orchard.
This garden is located above the Cherry Orchard and Greyhound car park and next to the Newfoundland Garden.
Funding for this project was secured from Essex County Council's Climate Action Fund, with some trees donated by the conservation volunteers. Two Town Park volunteers secured this funding and along with the rest of the volunteers planted 2500 locally native trees (25 different species) along with local schools, community groups from winter 2022 to spring 2023.
This forest is inspired by the work of Japanese botanist Dr Akira Miyawaki who studied forest ecology and developed a method of creating a multi layered forest. Trees are planted closely together with a covering of mulch to protect the roots and soil. By doing this, the forest grows 10 times faster and up to 30 times denser than traditional planting methods and has up to 30 times more carbon dioxide absorption and 100 times increased biodiversity than single species plantations.
Three years after planting, the forest should be self-sustaining. A nearby noticeboard on site gives more information. The forest will greatly enhance the wildlife of the park for many years to come.
This garden, opened in 1984, was built as a scented garden for blind people. The garden was constructed in memory of Millicent Bach, a former member of Harlow Council, as well as the daughter of Herbert Bach – founder of the original Addison Health Centre.
The garden features shrubs grown for their smell, touch and colour. It was renamed the sensory garden in 2014 after renovation by the Town Park volunteers.
Find the garden just off Park Lane, on the opposite side of the road to the water garden. The storytelling area, located next to the sensory garden, is popular with young families.
The walled garden was the former plant nursery for the park and is located next to Pets' Corner. It 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 can grow vegetables for their use.
The beehive supplies honey (when available), which is sold in the Pets' Corner gift shop.
The garden is also the home of Harlow Men's Shed - a safe space for men to talk openly whilst taking part in practical activities.
If you would like to remember a loved one, you can apply for a memorial in Harlow Town Park.
For more information, look at our memorials page
We have 4 orienteering courses in the Town Park, which we have created with help from Chigwell and Epping Forest Orienteering Club.
We encourage visitors to use the maps to explore all areas of the Town Park, whilst getting some exercise and having plenty of fun.
- Short course map (pdf) - 1.5km 9 controls
- Medium course map (pdf) - 2.5km 13 controls
- Long course map (pdf) - 4.1 km 17 controls
- Score course map (pdf) - all 23 controls
- Control descriptions (xlsx)
Control markers can be found across the whole of the Town Park and have a red and white plate - the top left hand corner shows the marker number, the bottom right corner has 2 letters which you write on the description sheet.
If you are interested in the management and development of the park, then you might want to join the Friends of Harlow Town Park.
The group meets 4 times a year - you can find details of upcoming meetings on our events page.
New members are always welcome. Email email@example.com
For information on volunteering opportunities, including the Town Park Volunteers, look at our volunteering page