Visiting The Peter Rabbit Trail at Langdon Nature Reserve Basildon Essex - What You Need To Know

Given a chance most children enjoy playing in the woods. Why wouldn't they enjoy an endless supply of mud? If that's not enough there are sticks, leaves to kick around, trees to climb and a wide variety of insects. If they are lucky they might also see some larger wildlife such as squirrels, rabbits or deer.

Sometimes though children need a little persuasion to get outside and explore. The Forestry Commission and Wildlife Trust have introduced a number of trails to help encourage the reluctant explorer including the Peter Rabbit trail at Langdon Nature Reserve in Basildon.

A toddler in a pink snow suit and penguin scarf and hat looking at a A4 map of the Peter Rabbit Trai at Langdon Nature Reservel

Officially opened on 1st May 2016 the Peter Rabbit Woodland Trail celebrates the 150th Birthday of Beatrix Potter. The trail is short enough for little legs and suitable for pushchairs. A variety of carved wooden characters are spaced out around the route with favourites such as Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggywinkle.

Tommy Brock, Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher, Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs Tiggywinkle on Langdon Nature Reserve

Parking is free and maps of the trail cost £1 from the Visitor Centre. The play area has been removed, but fingers crossed they will replace it at some point. Whenever I have visited the main path has been easily walkable and you can get around more or less mud free, but there are plenty of puddles just off the pathways.

A toddler pointing at a wooden carving of Beatrix potter's Jemima Puddleduck next to a lake

The characters are all easy to find with the map and they are on a circular route with the exception of Jemima Puddleduck who requires a small detour towards the lake. A sign indicates that you can get to Jemima by going either direction, but if you go to your right it is a short walk, if you go left it is a considerably longer one around the whole lake.

There is a gift shop with plenty of Beatrix Potter items, a nice little cafe and toilets in the Visitor Centre next to the car park (a new Visitors Centre opened in 2021). Donations are welcome to support the work of the Essex Wildlife Trust.

If little legs are up to it there is a lake and more of the nature reserve to explore, but you can comfortably see all the characters in less than an hour, including time to pose with photographs. Visiting again 2 years after it opened the characters are a little weather worn and poor Mrs Tiggywinkle has lost a few spikes from excess love, but it is still a lovely trail to explore with Beatrix Potter lovers.

A toddler on a wooden walkway at the play area at Langdon Nature Reserve Basildon Essex
Exploring the playground at the Langdon Nature Reserve, now removed.
You can find the reserve here: Lower Dunton Road, Basildon, SS16 6EJ

A copy of the Peter Rabbit Woodland Trail Map While The Visitors Centre is closed
Copy of old The Peter Rabbit Woodland Trail Map. There is a new version available with another figure towards The Haven. If the visitor centre is open I recommend buying a map to support the Wildlife Trust and because children love to use the map. You can also download a copy of a map with different trails here.

Now as much as ever, children need our time and attention. Consider giving your child a custom gift such as pin badges of time and experience at the end of your various nature adventures and scavenger hunts to create memories that will last a lifetime. Outdoor loving children will love a reminder of fun days out and each gift will make the time spent together more memorable for the whole family. It is a great way to encourage children to explore outside more and encourage them to be more balanced and healthy as they grow up.

(Originally published 25/04/16 and last edited January 2024)

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