Youngsters have sampled new state-of-the-art sports facilities in Great Notley for the first time.

An all-weather synthetic turf football pitch and multi-use games area at Great Notley Country Park were officially opened on Tuesday.

Year five and six pupils from Notley Green Primary School tried out a range of sports under the supervision of members of the Nacro Braintree Community Sports Project.

The £365, 000-scheme has been funded by the Football Foundation, Essex County Council, Braintree Council, Great Notley Parish Council and supported by Great Notley Football Club.

The floodlit all-weather pitch will benefit members of the football club, who were temporarily banned from playing on Notley Green last year because of friction with residents over muddy boots and parking, and other clubs in the district.

The floodlit games area can be used by schools, youth groups and companies for football and other sports, such as netball, hockey and tennis.

Councillors and representatives of the funding partners also attended the official opening, including Roger Walters, cabinet member for environment and sustainability at Braintree Council, and Paul Prosser, chairman Great Notley Football Club.

Schools, clubs and other organisations who would like to find out more about booking the facilities should contact Braintree Council on 01376 332326.

Outside of bookings the games area will be available for casual use by country park visitors.