Family fun in Promenade Park Maldon
PUBLISHED: 16:39 09 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:01 20 February 2013
For more than a century, Maldon's Promenade Park has been a haven for a family day out, now there is more to do than ever before, writes Nicky Adams
For more than a century, Maldons Promenade Park has been a haven for a family day out, now there is more to do than ever before, writes Nicky Adams
EVERY year more than 300,000 people visit Maldons famous Promenade Park and they come from right across the county and even London to do so. But that is nothing new for Maldon. Almost as soon as the park was first opened in 1895, it began to receive visitors in great numbers who flocked to the Blackwater town to look out over the water and spot wildfowl or marine craft.
Boating, fishing and taking in the bracing air were the main reasons for Edwardian visitors to make the journey to Maldon and those are still popular draws today. But while Prom Park as it is affectionately known locally was originally a 14-acre area of landscaped trees and shrubs with a shallow water mud flat for bathing and pedal boating, it is now a very
Boating, fishing and taking in the bracing air were the main reasons for Edwardian visitors to make the journey to Maldon
Two years ago Prom Park underwent a major transformation and was substantially modernised to appeal to present day visitors. Now covering 58 acres, theres something for everyone at the park and its open all year round. The Easter holidays are an ideal time to visit and there is plenty to keep people of all ages amused, which makes it a great destination for a day out with all generations of the family.
Maldons Promenade Park is a real focal point for visitors to the town and there is something for everyone to enjoy, explains the chairman of the councils Community Services Committee, Cllr Mrs Brenda Keighley. The park is carefully managed with the interests of visitors as well as the local wildlife and the waterside environment in mind, and it is an attraction we are very proud of.
At the heart of the park is a scenic ornamental lake with fountains and resident swans and this has replaced the saltwater pool of old. Although boating on this lake is no longer allowed, a purpose-built boating lake elsewhere in the park is the ideal place for model boat enthusiasts to try out their miniature craft and for children to try their hands at crabbing.
And there is plenty more in the park for the youngsters to enjoy too. Now the focal point is the galleon play area a huge ship-shaped adventure playground with plenty of scope for climbing, jumping and imaginative games. The aerial runway is a real test of bravery, while for younger children, the splash park has been a popular addition. This area of fountains and water spouts is designed for kids to run around in and cool off on a hot summers day. For older children theres a skate park and BMX track and theres also a traditional swing park as well as a maze and a wildlife garden to keep them amused.
However, many people of all ages go to Promenade Park for the simple pleasure of walking beside the water at Hythe Quay and appreciating the different craft that still float on the water. Traditional Thames barges are a common sight and many have been restored to working order and take passengers on trips along the coast. There are sailing boats too and, moored along the promenade, they often draw a crowd of interested onlookers who like to watch the craftsmen carrying out maintenance and painstaking restoration work.
Maldons Promenade Park is a real focal point for visitors to the town and there is something for everyone to enjoy. The park is carefully managed with the interests of visitors as well as the local wildlife and the waterside environment in mind, and it is an attraction we are very proud of
Eagle-eyed visitors might also spot the wading birds and other wildfowl that call the Blackwater home and it is not unusual to spy a seal basking in the mud. There is plenty of other wildlife to admire too and many birds, animals and insects are attracted by more than 1,000 trees that make the park green and pleasant. Avenues of horse chestnuts, cherry plums and hawthorns are among the 65 species of tree to be found in the park and there are guided walks to help visitors to identify them all. Bats are a real twilight feature of the park in the summer and autumn months and bat boxes have been installed all around the park to encourage them to nest and roost.
The Delph Ditch is managed mainly in the interests of the wildlife, but also makes a tranquil spot for people to relax and enjoy the bird song among the wildflowers and butterflies. This is the place to find several examples of declining species that are now protected by law, including water voles, newts, lizards and the occasional grass snake. Theres also a demonstration wildlife garden, which was created by volunteers and shows how ordinary gardens can be turned into havens for wildlife. Roughly the size and shape of a typical garden of a new semi-detached house, it has a small pond, bird feeders, apple trees and a small vegetable patch to inspire visitors to create their own at home.
Although the park was redesigned and re-opened only recently, there are plans to improve it still further. A new visitor and interpretation centre is on the drawing board and this exciting project will highlight the rich history of the district, from Roman and Viking times to present day, ensuring that Prom Park remains at the heart
of life in Maldon.
Maldons Promenade Park is presided over by a statue of Byrthnoth, Earldorman of Essex, who is famous for leading an armed English force against the invading Danes.The English were defeated, but the Danes had suffered huge losses and were forced to retreat. The site of the battle near Northey Island recorded by English Heritage as the earliest recorded battlefield in England is more or less the same as it was in 991AD and an epic poem, The Battle of Maldon, retelling the story of the battle is considered to rank among the finest examples of early English literature.
To find out more about Maldons Promenade Park, visit the Maldon District
Tourist Information Centre, Wenlock Way, Maldon or call 01621 856503.
Just at the gates to the Promenade Park, the Maldon Museum is full of interesting local artefacts and there is such a collection that displays are changed regularly. The museum is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday between 2pm and 5pm, and on Sundays and Bank Holidays between 11am and 5pm, April to October. Admission costs 1 for adults and 50p children. For more details call 01621 842688