University of Essex Wivenhoe Park

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University of Essex Wivenhoe Park

University of Essex Wivenhoe Park

About us

Wivenhoe Park

Wivenhoe Park lake

Wivenhoe Park visitor information

Wivenhoe Park, on the outskirts of Colchester in Essex, is the tranquil 200-acre home to both our Colchester Campus and a wide range of plants and wildlife, including some extraordinary and historic trees.

Using the park

Wivenhoe Park is on private land but is open to visitors all year. You are welcome to enjoy our parkland and the wildlife that lives here. You can:

  • follow our Tree Walk (.pdf) featuring 38 trees of historic and scientific interest
  • run, walk or jog one of our three jogging routes, ranging from 1.2 to 3.2 miles long – details are available from the Sports Centre reception desk
  • challenge yourself to a game of disc golf on our 18 hole course – it’s the oldest in the country and we’ve hosted the British Open Disc Golf Championships
  • get a bite to eat from one of our many cafés
  • have a picnic in our scenic grounds or by one of our lakes
  • hire the BBQ area (.pdf, Essex staff and students only)

Our University is a home to our resident students and a place to learn and work for many others. Please be considerate of the few signs we have around the campus and use the litter bins provided.

Dog walking

Dogs are welcome in our park but must be kept on leads at all times and are not allowed on the sports pitches. Please be considerate of our surroundings by cleaning up after your dog – bins are provided.


No fishing is allowed in any of our lakes.


We take great pride in the cleanliness of our park to provide a wonderful atmosphere for students, staff and visitors. Please respect our campus by using the bins provided.

Getting here and finding your way around

Flora and fauna

Our site provides many habitats including amenity, marshy and acid grasslands, reed beds, woodland and eutrophic and mesotrophic lakes. These habitats are home to insects, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds, fungi and fauna. We encourage wildlife by placing insect hotels, bird boxes and hedgehog boxes around the campus.

  • Trees

    We’re home to over 2,800 trees, including rare species and veteran trees. The variety of species and ages provide habitats for a range of animals and support the growth of fauna and funghi. Our Tree Walk is a self-guided tour of some of our notable trees.

  • Lakes

    The park has three consecutive man-made lakes which, along with the areas surrounding them, provide a habitat for various duck species, Canadian geese, moorehends, coots and recently a pair of cormorants. The lakes themselves are home to several fish species.

    In the future we plan to enhance our facilities around the lower lake by adding boardwalks, lighting and an amphitheatre.

  • Biodiversity

    We encourage wildlife by creating and maintaining a wide variety of habitats. Our habitat surveys have identified species as diverse as woodpeckers, kingfishers, five species of bat, grass snakes, common lizards, hedgehogs and harvest mice. We’re also home to several scarce species of spiders, moths and bees.

The park is maintained by our Grounds team.