Davy Down

Photo Credit: Paul Vine

Davy Down

Urban Riverside Park

Davy Down consists of around 13-hectares of attractive landscape, nestled amongst large modern developments. As a part of the Mardyke Valley and Thames Chase Community Forest, the area provides a great opportunity to explore and enjoy the countryside on your doorstep, with links to Aveley and Bulphan along the Mardyke Way.

Discover Davy Down open days run from April to October on the second Sunday of these months (except where this clashes with public holidays, when the date may be different). Family activities on these days include guided walks and talks, mini-beast safaris and pond dipping followed by an examination of some of the 'beasts' discovered using our big screen video microscopes

Conservation, Wildlife, Flora, Fauna

The ponds and wetland at Davy Down and the surrounding reaches of the Mardyke are particularly good areas to see Water Voles. By sitting quietly and observing the banks and open water you will usually be rewarded with a sighting of this increasingly threatened mammal going about its business. If you were wondering what causes the loud chuckling and quacking noise coming from the direction of the pond or river, the answer is the marsh frog. They are the largest European frog and can reach nearly five inches. They live in the water all year round and even hibernate at the bottom of ponds in the winter. Kingfishers can be seen around the pond and the river. The best way to spot them is to settle by the river bank or stand on a bridge crossing the river and wait for one to zoom past as they travel up and down the river.

History

Before opening to the public in May 1993 Davy Down had a long history of farming, dating back to at least 1730. More recently, the land was used for market gardening, which was abandoned when the new A13 was built, splitting the land holding in half. The farm soon became derelict and unsightly and remained so until the Davy Down Project began.

The area also retains a rich heritage in the form of the impressive railway viaduct across the Mardyke Valley which dates from 1892. There are also the dominant Stifford Pumping Station buildings, built around 1926-27 to house large diesel engines which provided the power to extract water from a 42m deep borehole in the chalk below. Essex & Suffolk Water still abstract water today, using a modern electric pump’.

Opening Times:

24 hours a day, all year round

Features of the park include:

  • Land size: 13 hectares (32 acres)
  • Car Park is open 24/7 - Free
    • Height restriction 6’6”, Width Restriction
  • The Pumping Station is open to the public when the Warden is present on site and during the Discover Davy Down open days. In addition the Pumping Station is open to visitors every Thursday afternoon between 1 - 5pm.
  • A warden on site most days
  • Toilets – Restricted access
  • Hard surfaced paths that are wheelchair and buggy friendly
  • Path Length – 1km Circular Trail, Pedestrians, Cyclists, Horse-riders
  • Please keep dogs on leads or under control. Expect to see cyclists or horse riders on the path linking North Stifford and Aveley.
  • Picnic Area/Tables
  • Dogs not allowed

Public Transport:

  • Nearest Station: Chafford Hundred, 2km
  • Nearest Bus: 100m
  • Bus Number: First London 370, 348, 373

Contact information:

  • Site Management Organisation: The Land Trust took on the management of Davy Down in 2015, and work in partnership with Essex & Suffolk Water and the Davy Down Trust to manage the site.
  • Site Manager: Steve Mitchell
  • Phone: 07966879483
  • Email: stevemitchell@thelandtrust.org.uk

Address:
Davy Down Riverside Park
Back Lane (off Pilgrims Lane)
North Stifford
Essex
RM16 5UL


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