Cobtree Manor Park

Type:Country / Royal Park

Forstal Road, Maidstone, Kent, ME20 7AG

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About

Cobtree Manor Park has over 50 acres of parkland displaying a diverse and maturing collection of trees and shrubs. Standing on the site of the old Maidstone Zoo, the park features a themed play area, along with a sculpture trail, plenty of space for picnics, and a café serving hot and cold food and drinks. 


Map of Cobtree Manor Park

Things to Do

Explore the Park

Cobtree Manor Park is a landscape of diverse character: part open country park, part woodland and part parkland garden, all set on a gently sloping hillside with views of the North Downs. Remnants of the past can still be found in the park including a cattle shelter, sheep wash and the Elephant House

Arboretum

When Cobtree Manor Park was being planted in 1980-1, the vision was to create ‘another Kew Gardens’. Nearly 600 different species and cultivars of trees and shrubs were planted. Many of the shrubs have since died but most of the trees have survived to form a maturing arboretum of about 160 species (220 different trees including varieties).

The self-guided tree trail takes about an hour to walk.

Routes, Trails and Sculptures

In 2012, local sculptor Jason Mulligan was commissioned to produce The Trails with Tails stone sculpture Trail. It tells the story of the history of the park and hints at the travels of Sir Garrard’s menagerie in four sculptures:

  • Trails with Tails
  • Zebra Rock
  • Life of a Leaf
  • Seed Stack

A stone lion stands near the entrance to the woodland.A wooden sculpture, The Seven Ages by Will Glanville was relocated to Cobtree Manor Park in 2010.

Stone leaf sculptureThe Zebra SculptureThe Seed StackThe Seven Ages

A memorial gateway to Sir Garrard and Lady Edna was commissioned by the Cobtree Charity Trustees in the early 1990s which form the main entrance into the parkland area. 

Wildlife at Cobtree Manor Park

The park contains a variety of natural habitats – parkland, woodland, woodland edge, scrub, long grass, flowering meadow, seasonal ponds and running water.

A 2010 habitat survey identified:

  • 99 species of plants including bluebells and five species of orchids. There are some areas of ancient woodland carpeted with bluebells in late spring. Other ancient woodland indicator plants are present such as wood anemone and dog’s mercury.  The management of the meadow areas is timed to encourage further floral biodiversity.
  • 11 species of mammals- rabbits, moles, squirrels, badgers and foxes and small mammals such as shrews and weasels have their homes in the park. There is an ongoing survey to establish if dormice are present in the park. Pipistrelle, Daubenton’s and Noctule bats have been seen flying on the edge of the wood, but it remains to be established whether they have roosts in the park.
  • 24 species of birds - listen out for the woodpeckers in the woodland area.
  • 19 species of insects - a colony of yellow meadow ants can be found in one meadow. In summer, look out for dragonflies flying around the playground next to the visitor centre.
  • The bird-cherry ermine moth (rare in the region) is a feature of the park in May. Thousands of small caterpillars cover the tree and the ground below in white silk while they eat the leaves creating a ‘ghost tree' effect. This lasts for 4-6 weeks then the caterpillars pupate and turn into moths and the trees recover.
  • 3 species of amphibians – the protected Great Crested Newt has been found in the parkland pond. The pond is seasonal so does not support fish which is ideal for newts during their breeding season.

About Cobtree Manor Park

With deeds dating from 1596, find out more about the long history of the estate, how it became the site for Maidstone Zoo and the Trust that still oversees the park today.

Read more about the History of Cobtree Manor Park and Cobtree Charity Trust


Children's Play Area
​​​​​​Maidstone Zoo Play Park

The Maidstone Zoo themed fort and play area was completed in 2012 and features a large adventure play fort with climbing, rope bridges and slides. Swings including toddler swings and a disabled accessible swing (a harness is available in the Visitor Centre).

Further play equipment including a ‘dragon’ swing and double zip wire are spread around the lower area of the park.

Natural play is encouraged. There are lots of logs to balance on along the woodland walk and ‘eeyore houses’ are easily constructed from the dead wood found around the playground - please do not break or damage any living parts of the trees or shrubs though.

Cobtree Manor Park Café 

The Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake Visitor Centre and Cafe was completed in July 2015 and officially opened by Christopher Biggins on 19th October 2015.

The centre features interpretation panels telling the story of the zoo and the park and stocks visitor information and leaflets. The café serves a range of hot and cold food, drinks, snacks and ice creams. Phone 01622 239989

Opening Hours:

Monday - Sunday 8:30am - 5:00pm

 


Visitor Information

The main park gates open at 7.00am every day with the exception of Christmas Day when the car park is closed. Pedestrian access is open all year round.

Parking at Cobtree Manor Park

A speed restriction of 5mph operates in the park. Please note there is a 2m (6’6) height restriction.
There is a daily £2 parking charge per vehicle for use of the car park.
An Annual Parking Permit is available to anyone for £50 per year. If you'd like to apply for a permit, you'll need to do so 10 days before you'd like the permit to start.
Your season ticket can only be used:
In the pay and display car park within Cobtree Manor Park 
between the hours of 7am and 9pm when the park is open (please check park notice boards for opening hours). Your season ticket can not be used:

  • In Mote Park car parks
  • In any other of Maidstone's pay and display car parks
  • In Kent Country Parks

The Annual Car Park Pass can be purchased online here
There are 9 disabled parking bays and Blue Badge holders and do not have to pay the parking charge.
All of the money raised from parking charges will be used to help maintain the park.

Toilets

An accessible disabled toilet and baby changing facilities are available in the visitor centre.The toilets are stocked and maintained by Cobtree Cafe Ltd not the Cobtree Park team. If you have any queries or problems  concerning the toilet facilities, please contact them on t:01622 239989  e:info@cobtreecafe.co.uk 
Toilet opening times: toilets open daily from 08:30 until 1 hour before dusk.

Dogs

Cobtree Manor Park is very popular with dog walkers.
It is your responsibility to keep your dog under control and to clean up after it: you are breaking the law if you do not do so.
Please keep your dog in sight and be in full control of it at all times and keep any dog whose obedience cannot be guaranteed on a lead. 

Cycling

Cycling is allowed in the park, but we ask all cyclists to be considerate and safe.

Picnics

We welcome informal picnics in the Cobtree Manor Park.
If you are holding an organised event (for gatherings larger than the maximum number of 20) please contact us to discuss location and fees.
If you wish to hold a charity picnic and make any collections of money you must apply for permission first.
Barbecues, or any form of cooking are not permitted in any area of the park. The café in the park sells a selection of hot and cold food.
Erecting tents, marquees, or other structures, or any equipment that is likely to obstruct other park users is not permitted.
Glass – please use reusable plastic cups and bottles where possible.

Smoking

Smoking is allowed in the park but not in the play fort or on the patio around the visitor centre. Please dispose of cigarette butts in a cigarette bin as they are still litter!

Accessibility

There is a fully accessible disabled toilet. The café and visitor centre are accessible for wheelchair users.
The main vehicle entrance to the park is protected by a 2m (6’6) height barrier. 
The terrain of the park is hilly and through the woodland areas there are uneven paths that can become muddy and slippery.
There is a circuit of wide footpaths that take visitors around the sculpture trail and areas of the arboretum.

Horse Walking

A signed horse riding route runs through the park

Run England Route

There is a signed 5k run around the park.


Park Management

The park is run by the Cobtree Team, Maidstone Borough Council.

The park was first awarded the prestigious Green Flag in 2014 and has retained it annually since then.

 

 

 


 

 

Book Tickets

Events

Wednesday, 15th December 2021 - Friday, 31st December 2021

Glow Illumination TrailGlow Illumination Trail
more info

Facilities

Other

  • Family Fun
  • Groups Accepted
  • On-Site café/restaurant
  • Outdoor Attraction
  • Picnic Site

Parking & Transport

  • On site parking

Provider Preferences

  • In countryside

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:

4.5 of 5 stars
    • Excellent
      182
    • Very Good
      156
    • Average
      27
    • Poor
      11
    • Terrible
      8

    Recent Reviews:

    • LeanneR102
      Sidcup, United Kingdom
      Trip Type:
      Family
      Brilliant park
      4 of 5 stars
      Monday, 9th August 2021
      Lovely sized car park and no issue parking. Only £2 to park all day. Used the toilets first and unfortunately they had no soap in any of the dispensers which I think is really bad. Anyway, play park... Read full review
    • babsbgbg
      Kent, United Kingdom
      Trip Type:
      Family
      Beautiful park but take your own food
      3 of 5 stars
      Saturday, 20th November 2021
      Park is beautiful but avoid the cafe so overpriced. You also have to pay minimum £2 parking even if you are only there for a few minutes Read full review
    • brianketteridge
      Trip Type:
      Solo travel
      Breakfast good VFM
      4 of 5 stars
      Wednesday, 1st December 2021
      Had a few hours to kill while my car was serviced, so wandered the grounds and went to the cafe for a cooked breakfast. Grounds delightful (must come back in the spring), and breakfast was extremely... Read full review

    Map & Directions

    Road Directions

    1 mile East of Aylesford and North of Maidstone off A229.

    Opening Times

    Open New Year
    Opening 2021 (1 Jan 2021 - 31 Dec 2021)

    * Closing Times:
    November - March - 5pm
    April - 7pm
    May - August - 8pm
    September - 7pm
    October - 6pm

    The main park gates open at 7.00am every day (closed Christmas Day). Pedestrian access is open all year round
    Car parking £2 per day. More information in the main description.

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