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 features five unique gardens, the bandstand, outdoor gym, adventure playground, paddling pool, Skate Park, Spurriers House Café, Stort Valley meadows, as well as the popular Pets' Corner.
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 three years in a row.
Location: School Lane, CM20 2QD
There are a number of pay and display car parks located around the Town Park.
Annual events include a Bonfire and Fireworks night, fairs and circuses on the Showground and concerts on the bandstand.
Water Garden (No 8 on map)
The Water Garden, formerly Water Cress beds, is made up of three 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.
Specimen Garden (No.6 on map)
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
Newfoundland Garden (No 11 on map)
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.
Find this garden between the Skate Park (No 15 on map) and School Lane.
Sensory Garden (not shown on map)
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.
Walled Garden (No.3 on map)
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.
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 to use the maps to explore all areas of the Town Park, whilst getting some exercise and having plenty of 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 descriptions (xlsx)
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.
The maps are also available from Pets' Corner shop and Spurriers House Café.
There are currently two toilet facilities available in the Park:
- Toilets adjacent to the Walled Garden (No 3 on map), include a disabled toilet.
- Changing Places toilet next to Pets Corner entrance. To use this complete a Changing Places Key Application Request Form (pdf)
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Please contact Pauline Neate on 01279 422790 for further details.