South Ockendon is the largest of the two post-war urban expansion communities in the area, centred on a historic hamelt, on a low-ridge between the upper-mardyke and the historic lanscape of Belhus Park. Some mature trees from the historic park have been incorperated into housing estates as formal parks or within recreational areas but generally the extensive housing areas contrasts with, rather than compliments the rural setting.
To the north-west, large scale industrial and distribution buildings form a harsh urban edge to the landscape. The M25 has divided Belhus Park leaving the residual elements of the estate's woodland in the form of Oak wood and Ash plantation to the east. To the south former mineral workings have left a legacy of derelict land used as poor quality rough grazing land.
The small community of North Ockendon is a scattered settlement spread around the historic church and hall within an agricultural landscape.
Remnants of Belhus Park still remain although the house no longer exists. The formal deer park and gardens evident in the estate map of 1619AD were reformed as an informal 'landscape' park by Capability Brown. The m25 divided the park in two. Belhus Woods Country Park covers 57 hectares at the northern edge of the former historic park. Ancient coppics woodlands, open grassland, and lakes attract over 150,000 visitors annually. Elsewhere pockets of farmland are intermixed with recreation and sports areas as well as former mineral workings.
To find out more about where to visit in Aveley and Ockendon, click on the site pages to the left.
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