At the eastern end of Mersea Island, at Cudmore Grove you’ll find a sandy beach, impressive views, grassland, meadows for relaxation and walks that will take you past interesting historical sites and an abundance of wildlife.
The park is popular on hot summer days, with its sandy beach and cooling sea breeze. Winter brings wading birds and wildfowl, including flocks of brent geese.
The area is rich in historic features, including WWII pillboxes and gun emplacements, the remains of a 16th century blockhouse fort and a cliff that has produced 300,000-year-old fossils, such as monkey, bear and bison.
Cudmore Grove is a flat site with easy walking ground mostly accessible for wheelchair users. Several miles of walking paths circle and cross the site, including the Sea Wall walk, crossing the grasslands and along the sides of the grazing marshes.
WILDLIFE AND BIRDWATCHING
A wildlife hide overlooks the pond where you can often see wildfowl, foxes and rabbits. The low-lying grazing meadow is managed as an Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) nature reserve attracting wading birds and ducks throughout the year.
Winter is the best season for birdwatching with sea-duck and grebes in the Colne estuary, up to 15 types of wader on the rich mudflats and maybe a glimpse of a hunting bird of prey like a peregrine or marsh harrier. On the grazing fields in winter, lots of wigeon and teal can be seen as well as large flocks of brent geese, while in the summer lapwings and avocet often breed.
Spring and autumn bring migrant birds such as warblers, wheatear and whinchat, maybe something rarer. Grass left long throughout the year attracts small mammals, skylarks, lizards and insects while kestrels and barn owls hunt over these areas.
On summer days up to 15 types of butterfly can be seen in a day feeding on the meadows and hedgerows.
Cudmore Grove has several features of ancient and more recent historic importance. Walks along the sea wall pass the remains of a 16th century blockhouse fort and a cliff of exposed 300,000-year-old fossils.
Part of a golf course between the wars, Cudmore Grove became a defence site during WWII. Visitors can follow the WWII heritage trail to learn more about the wartime structures visible in the park, including several pillboxes and gun emplacements.
After WWII, the land was farmed until purchased by Essex County Council in 1974 as a site for recreation, and historic and conservation importance.
FOOT FERRY TO BRIGHTLINGSEA
The foot ferry between Brightlingsea, Point Clear and East Mersea provides easy access for local people and visitors from early April to end of October. The boat’s ramp can be lowered for wheelchair users and cyclists. The crossing to Brightlingsea takes around 9 minutes.
See Brightlingsea Harbour for foot ferry sailing and fares.
CYCLING AND HORSE RIDING
There are designated routes for cyclists and horse riders marked on the Map of Cudmore Grove – PDF, 108KB. Routes also allow horses access to the beach. Cyclists are welcome to stray from the designated routes on the park with care for other users.
Please note that the lane that gives access to the carpark is not suitable for towed horse boxes, however, horses can be brought to the car park in lorry-style horse boxes.
*Information & photo about Cudmore Grove Country Park is from their website which you can visit here.
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