People may be put off using country parks due to excessive car park charges, a walk group leader has warned.

Essex County Council is increasing charges at its country parks, including Great Notley, from April 1 onwards.

Drivers at Great Notley currently pay £2 in the winter and £3 in the summer, but this will increase by 50p.

Geoff Farrow, chairman of the North West Essex Ramblers, said: “It’s OK if you want to go there for the whole day, but if you just want to go for an hour to walk the dog or go for a stroll it is ridiculous.

“I think they’ve lost the plot - they need to be careful because it is going to discourage people from going.”

Season ticket prices will remain unchanged and parking at Cressing Temple will still be free.

John Jowers, ECC cabinet member for libraries, communities and planning, said: “Increases in car park charges are made after considerable thought and in order to maintain good value."