On 1 April 2019 Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council will be replaced by a single district council called West Suffolk Council. It will entirely replace the borough and district councils but will continue to deliver the same services while finding improved ways of supporting communities, businesses and the local economy. Over the next few weeks you may notice changes to the website, forms, letters and emails, and there will be limited access to some of our online systems as we prepare for the creation of the new council.
Made up of approximately 50 acres, East Town Park lies at the heart of a network of footpaths that extend around Haverhill. Snaking along a disused railway track the multitude of paths link up to the Stour Valley walk that runs for 60 miles from Cambridgeshire through West Suffolk and then to Essex.
All year from 8.30am until dusk
Free to enjoy
Friends of East Town Park
About East Town Park
East Town Park features some unique wildlife habitats and beautiful natural woodland that is being expanded through a tree planting programme. Dogs are allowed off lead. The park has established itself as a firm family favourite with seasonal activities such as the Easter egg hunt and Halloween trail. Highlights include:
Ann Webb plantation
Planted in 1996, this area of East Town Park has a diverse mix of native trees and shrubs which are particularly colourful in Autumn
A home to squirrels and rooks, East meadow is a beautiful area of mature walnut trees. This is a meadow for all seasons with early snowdrops, yellow aconites and nest building in February through to pond dipping in the summer
Easy access trail
The 400 metre trail weaves its way through the millennium meadow and offers those with reduced mobility an opportunity to enjoy the diverse wildlife in the park. Ideal for wheelchairs and pushchairs the trail loops past the pond which attracts frogs and toads in spring and in the summer sees a burst of colourful wildflowers and a range of dragon flies.
These serve as a reminder of the willows that once grew here and were used by local Haverhill basket weavers. The stumps are managed and cut back and can grow more than six feet in a season, providing welcome shelter for birds such as bullfinches. The occasional muntjac deer can be seen here early in the morning.
The park centre is a converted stable block, open at weekends from 11am to 4pm. There is also a small function room that can be hired, the maximum capacity is 40 people, contact the park directly on 01440 710745 to find out more about hiring.
A five kilometre walk runs on the disused Haverhill to Sudbury line which operated from 1865 until 1967. The railway has become a corridor brimming with wildlife where you can expect to see orange tipped, speckled wood butterflies. Wildflowers and shrubs provide a carpet of colour and the blossoming blackthorn produces fruit that can be made into sloe gin.
Made up of borders, raised beds and ponds this is a wildlife area abundant with native plants and insects. The area is a fascinating place for visiting schools to explore. In winter a bird feeding station is maintained providing sustenance throughout the season, you can sit and enjoy watching woodpeckers and finches from the warmth of the park centre.
This former arable field is now home to a variety of lizards that like to bask on log piles on sunny days. The meadow is the perfect place for them to reside as the grassland provides them with plenty of food that they can forage.
The avenue once led up to the The Coupals, a large Victorian house that was home to the Gurteen family whose fortunes were founded in textiles. The avenue is lined by lime and horse chestnut trees which provide shelter for nesting rooks.
The brook plays an important role in supplying local wildlife with habitats and food. Kingfishers and grey wagtails can be seen fishing alongside moorhens and water voles. During the summer months fish such as roach and chub have been known to swim in the deeper parts of the brook and the banded demoiselle damselfly has been known to make an appearance.
Set within a meadow known as the Millennium meadow, this area was developed a team of local volunteers, the Smiths Row Art Gallery and artist Jim Buchanan. Four varieties of willow grow here and willow rods are harvested each year and offered to locals to make willow structures or for weaving. The landscaped designs reach their flowering peak in late summer.
Seasonal events and productions take place on a regular basis, keep checking What's on West Suffolk for new events.