Cely Woods

Visitor information

Surrounded by the ancient Warwick and White Post Woodlands, immerse yourself in the meadows, wetlands and native trees of Cely Woods

As one of Thames Chase's largest woodlands, Cely Woods has an excellent network of paths and is a rich habitat with numerous insects and flowers. 

The wildlife across the wetlands is a year-round treat. Try observing it from the wooden bridge that straddles the stream and see what you can spot! 

You can also continue through to Belhus Woods Country Park via a safe road crossing on Romford Road, where you can grab some refreshments from the Visitor Centre. 

These woods are named after the Cely family, who bought part of the land in 1492 and moved here to escape the bubonic plague then ravaging London. A collection of 240 of the family’s business and personal letters, known as the ‘Cely Papers’, is the largest collection of its kind. It has provided historians with numerous valuable insights into the life of a late medieval merchant family!

At a glance

  • Walking
  • Cycling 
  • Horse riding 
  • Dogs welcome

Things to do

Cycling is a fantastic way to explore Cely Woods and soak up the beautiful scenery. There’s an excellent network of paths providing you with a range of route options around the site.

Horse riders are welcome to ride on the mixed surfaced, waymarked horse trail. The paths total the length 1.5km and throughout the site’s grassed areas. Please follow signage.

You do not need a permit to ride in Cely Woods. 

For more information on our facilities, opening times and contact details, please see our visitor information.

There’s an excellent network of paths, many all-ability accessible, providing you with a range of route options around the site.


Spending time amongst the trees and really noticing nature is scientifically proven to boost our mental and physical health. Follow the trail to take a mindful walk through the forest that invites you to really relax.

What to expect

Themed panels along the trail will invite you to pause, notice and connect with the forest environment around you.

A forest wellbeing journal is also available to help you get even more benefit from the experience, offering additional mindful things to do while you’re out in the forest and at home.

Download your forest wellbeing journal  before you visit.

About the route

This 0.8km circular trail starts and finishes at the car park and follows hard surface paths.  It passes a neighboring ancient woodland and follows along a wildlife corridor, as it circles the young community woodland.

This trail is supported by Sport England using National Lottery funding.

Nearby forests

Sun setting behind silhouetted trees

Named after the Bonnetts family who farmed these fields as part of their Central Farm from the 1920’s, Bonnetts Wood is now the perfect place to relax and unwind. 

Flower meadows, small streams and native trees provide the ideal setting for quiet nature watching, connected by a network of paths winding through the area.

Pond side path on open grassland

Come and roam the planted glades and wildflower meadows of this ancient farmland. You will be rewarded with excellent views of the Ingrebourne Valley, especially towards Hornchurch and Elm Park with an impressive hilly South Essex skyline in the distance.

Long grass on the edge of a woodland with bright blue skies

Mardyke Woods was already well established when the Romans first arrived here in 54BC and is therefore well deserved of its official status as an Ancient Semi Natural Woodland!

There's a variety of woodland paths for you to explore, two adjacent play areas for your active little monkeys and is convenient for the nearby Mardyke Way riverside walk, where you can connect up with the Davy Down Urban Riverside Park.

A walker walking through the forest in the autumn. The walker is looking up at the trees around them.

Thames Chase Forest Centre offers lots of features and bags of room for an exciting family day out.

The Thames Chase Trust runs the Thames Chase Forest Centre visitor centre, providing the perfect venue for a quick snack or wholesome lunch, as well as the opportunity to purchase local crafts and gifts. Among the Thames Chase Forest Centre buildings, you can still see the original 17th century Essex Barn, stables and farm house.

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