Stepping out on Davy Down

21st March 2017

A group of walkers at Davy Down Urban Riverside Park in Thurrock are all set to enjoy the countryside and make the most of getting more active during the summer season.

Davy Down in Thurrock is a nature reserve owned by Essex & Suffolk Water and Thurrock Council and it is now managed in partnership with the Land Trust. The site is 32 acres of beautiful woods and grasslands at the entrance to the Mardyke Valley.

The site manager of Davy Down Urban Riverside Park is Stephen Mitchell, who works on behalf of partners the Land Trust, Essex & Suffolk Water and Davy Down Trust, to maintain and enhance the site. He said: “It is a brilliant area for nature and wildlife and the aim of this group of walkers is to get people out in the countryside and make use of Davy Down.”

Each walker now has a brand new drinks bottle from Essex & Suffolk Water to make sure they’ve always got some H2O on hand. Drinking plenty of water can help improve concentration and performance during exercise.

Merle Boyles, 70, likes to be outdoors and said: “Normally, I take a drink of water with squash in it when I’m out and about.”

Sarah Pinkerton, Head of Communications at Essex & Suffolk Water said: “As the weather improves and the days grow longer, spring and summer are some of the best times to get out and about on our sites in Essex. Often walkers will see some fabulous wildlife whilst also getting active and fit.

“Davy Down is an undiscovered gem of a site in Thurrock and I’d encourage all those walkers to make sure they’ve filled-up a bottle with high quality and great tasting tap water before setting off,” she added.

Simon Pile, Estates Manager South at the Land Trust, added: “Nine out of ten people say our parks and green spaces encourage them to get fit and healthy, so it’s wonderful to see the walking group regularly enjoying the fresh air and scenery at Davy Down, and getting some exercise at the same time.”

A group of older walkers meets at Davy Down every Friday lunchtime and enjoys a brisk hour out walking, many have been coming for seven years.

Robert Childs, 74, has been with the group since the start and he said: “I come to stay healthy and lots of us have had surgery and it helps to meet people and enjoy ourselves.”

Water is linked to Davy Down as it is still an active pumping station for Essex & Suffolk Water, and located next to the river Mardyke it can make for a stunning setting during summer. All of the walkers in the group take water to drink when they head out for their regular journeys around the riverside park.

Former nurse, Barry Lord, 68, from West Thurrock said: “In the warmer weather I always take a bottle of tap water with me.” He’s been coming to the group for the past two years and finds it a great way to socialise and see a bit of wildlife.

The pumping station was built around 1926-27 and housed large diesel engines that provided the power to extract water from a 42 metres deep borehole in the chalk below.

A wide variety of wildlife can be seen in the park during the summer months as Stephen Mitchell explains: “We get all sorts of birds and animals at Davy Down including kingfishers, amphibians and reptiles. Also our grassland meadows are great for butterflies, and the ponds have many dragonfly and damselflies.”

The walking group meets every Friday from 1.30pm at Davy Down in Thurrock and new walkers would be very welcome


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Walking group at Davy Down

For some children it's probably their first encounter with wildlife, so for them it's a really good educational place.

Emily, Site Ranger, Bentley Community Woodland

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