Parndon Wood Nature Reserve

Parndon Wood Nature Reserve run by ECCO, is officially one of the finest parks in the country, after receiving a sought after Green Flag award, retained in 2017 for the ninth consecutive year. Green Flag Awards recognise and reward the best parks in the country.

Set on the southern outskirts of Harlow, Parndon Wood has been recorded as a woodland for at least 900 years and therefore can be termed as “ancient woodland”. The site was turned into a Local Nature Reserve and in 1974 and the reserve was also designated a Special Site for Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to its flora and value as an educational resource. The wood is composed of a canopy of oak tree standards with hornbeam trees growing beneath. These have traditionally been coppiced (cut down to the base and allowed to grow up again) every 10-15 years to make use of the timber. This practice is still carried out, though more to keep a diversity of habitats within the woodland and increase the number of species to be found.

Parndon Wood has informal visits by schools, which use it to support national curriculum studies and for special events. These are held through the year, for example to demonstrate woodland crafts, painting and woodcarving weekends. We also offer discussion meetings about local wildlife issues and volunteer conservation work parties.

What is there to do?

Follow the trail, or explore the many tracks and paths. There's a 1.5km woodland trail with associated guide and map highlighting the many features of the wood. In the Conservation Centre, learn from the displays about growing and using wood. Watch and even join in on conservation task days throughout the year. Come to some of the many events held throughout the year.

Parndon Wood is a place where children can explore, build camps, hunt for bugs and much more! There are easier version of the woodland trail and easy-access path for children, a trail quiz, and seasonal spotter sheets. The wood and Conservation Centre are very popular for birthday parties and there are lots of holiday activities.

Please note that dogs are not allowed in the reserve.

Birthday parties

Party packages are available and can be tailored to individual needs to include a range of activities for all occasions.


You can become a volunteer for wildspaces and wardens helping to maintain the conservation areas and wildspaces of Harlow.

Open details

For more information on Parndon Wood Nature Reserve and activities please visit ECCO website

Contact details

Parndon Wood Nature Reserve
Parndon Wood Road
CM19 4SF

Tel: 01279 430005

Opening hours

Bank Holiday Mondays 11am-4pm 
All other Mondays: CLOSED
Tuesday: CLOSED
Wednesday: 11am-4pm
Thursday: 4pm-9pm (2pm-7pm during winter months as of 30 November 2017)
Friday: 11am-4pm
Saturday: 11am-6pm
Sunday: 11am-4pm