Grid ref: TQ 583 906 (click for o/s map)
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Now an Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserve, Warley Place is the site of once-famous gardens said to have been laid out by the diarist John Evelyn in the 17th century. The last occupant was Miss Ellen Willmott, who died in 1934. She remodelled the gardens and introduced into them a vast assortment of new plants from all over the world.
The garden had fallen into neglect but has now been restored by an enthusiastic team of volunteers, although not in its original form. Parts of the built remains can still be seen and a number of the surviving plants. Daffodils, snowdrops, winter aconites, anemones, cranesbills and ferns grow in profusion again, mingling with native species. Among a variety of trees, some exotic, is a line of huge sweet chestnuts.
On the B186 (Brentwood–S. Ockendon) just south of Brentwood. Entrance next to the Thatchers Arms PH.
Infrequent buses from Brentwood to Romford and Grays run past the entrance: ask for Thatchers Arms.
On weekends from end February to early April the gates are manned by volunteers and several thousand visitors come to see the daffodils and other spring flowers. Otherwise access for Essex Wildlife Trust members and holders of day permits only: call Essex Wildlife Trust on 01621 862960.
No dogs allowed except guide dogs.