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St Faith's Country Park
Weald Road, South Weald
St Faith's has been managed by Brentwood Borough Council since 1999. Before this, it formed part of the grounds of St Faith's Hospital. The site is managed to benefit wildlife and biodiversity whilst still allowing informal public access. The park covers 16 hectares of attractive open grassland fields bounded by mature hedgerows. There is also small areas of scrub and wet woodland, watercourses and ponds. The undulating land form serves to hide the proximity of the A12 and urban area and gives views towards South Weald and the surrounding countryside.
Responsible enjoyment of this park by the public is valued and encouraged. The site is in close proximity to a large urban population and makes it ideal for pleasant strolls, nature watching and dog walking. For anyone wishing to gain access to the site there are entrances at Weald Road, London Road, Honeypot Lane and Sir Francis Way. Please note that there are no car parking and toilet facilities at this site.
The site as it is now - Brentwood Borough Council have improved many aspects of the park including grass cutting on a conservation basis, providing better access and maintaining ditch systems.
Grassland - Grassland forms the largest single habitat at St Faith's. The field patterns have remain largely unchanged for at least 150 years. Although it is not known whether the land was used as pasture or arable land in the past, there is no evidence of recent intensive farming. The grassland areas are cut twice a year on a conservation basis to sustain the diversity of plants, animals and insects.
Hedgerows - The ancient species rich hedgerows are important for their wildlife interest. There are many mature hedgerow trees and areas of scrub, both of which create high wildlife value for birds and mammals. St Faith's has avoided many of the threats to hedgerows such as removal, over management and loss of standard trees.
Watercourses - There are both flowing and standing water habitats on the site connected in a network across the site.
Woodland - There is a small area of woodland to the north of the site adjacent to Weald Road.
Paths and access - A surfaced joint pedestrian and cycleway is provided across the site from Weald Road to London Road and provides links to Green Lane which in turn links Weald Road to Costead Manor Road. This is suitable for walkers and cyclists of all abilities and also pushchair and wheelchair users. The other path which cross the fields are unsurfaced, undulating and hard subject to weather conditions. These are not suitable for wheelchairs. Benches are in place at regular intervals.
If you visit the park you may see some of the following:
- Animals - Kestrels, Weasels.
- Insects - Seven-spot Ladybird.
- Trees - Oak, Willow.
- Flowers - Lady's Smock, Musk Mallow, Burnet Saxifrage.
- Grasses - Tufted Hair-grass, Meadow Foxtail, Sweet Vernal-grass.
If you would like more information or are interested in joining the Brentwood Countryside Management Volunteers who carryout practical improvements to the site please contact the Countryside Department on 01277 312651.