Wild Essex: 5 hotspots for nature lovers

Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve, near Colchester, Essex

Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve, near Colchester, Essex - Credit: Callum Redgrave-Close / Getty Images / iStockphoto

To the surprise of many, Essex is home to many unique habitats for wildlife and wilderness landscapes of international significance. There are also many beautiful wild spots in the county that you can discover too

1. Abberton Reservoir, nr Colchester 
Just south of Colchester is one of Europe’s important wetland sites. Essex & Suffolk Water’s Abberton Reservoir is a haven for migratory birds and you will find nesting cormorants and grey herons nearby at Layer Breton Causeway.


2. Backwarden Nature Reserve, Danbury
Take a walk around Backwarden Nature Reserve in Danbury, part of Danbury Ridge Nature Reserve, and you will find an amazing array of fungi in the woodland while the restored heathland is home to adders and common lizards. 

3. Fringringhoe Wick, nr Colchester 
Fringringhoe Wick near Colchester was the first nature reserve to be opened by Essex Wildlife Trust in 1961 and includes a freshwater lake, reedbed, grassland, scrub and woodland that provide homes to a diverse amount of wildlife. 

4. Warley Place, nr Brentwood
One place that has literally been given back to nature is Warley Place, near Brentwood. The land, which once housed a grand house and formal gardens, was home to the Wilmot family and famous Edwardian horticulturalist Ellen Wilmot. Sadly, the house was demolished, but some original features of the garden can still be seen.

5. Bedfords Park, Havering-atte-Bower
Alternatively get lost in Bedfords Park in Havering-atte-Bower. The park includes many valuable habitats such as mature woodland, wildflower meadows, ponds, streams and marshy areas. The Nature Discovery Centre offers great views over east London and Kent. Plus, with 215 acres to explore, social distancing won’t be a problem.


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