Essex Wildlife Trust
This 32 acre reserve is all that remains of a marshland habitat that once covered many square miles of southern Essex. It contains a variety of habitats including marsh, Sedge Fen (one of the best surviving in Essex) and ancient woodland.
This 32 acre reserve is all that remains of a marshland habitat that once covered much of south Essex, but which has now mostly been converted to arable farming. It contains a variety of habitats including marsh, sedge fen (one of the best surviving in Essex) and ancient woodland.
What to look for:
The three small woods consist mainly of Hazel coppice, with some very large Oak and Ash trees, patches of Wild Cherry and a grove of Alder. Dogwood, Guelder Rose, Spindle and Midland Hawthorn are also found here indicating it is very old woodland. The grassland across the south of the reserve is bisected by old reed-filled drainage ditches. It contains a large concentration of Betony, and, in the wetter patches, Southern Marsh Orchids, Marsh Marigold and Ragged Robin. It also has three large patches of the rare Yellow Loosestrife.
The reserve attracts marshland birds such as Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting with Green and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers and Tawny Owl in the woods. Kestrel and Sparrowhawk nest in the large trees regularly, and sometimes Hobby. Grass Snakes are often seen in the grassland and there is abundant insect life. Twenty three butterfly species have been recorded, including Small Copper, Wall Brown and Speckled Wood.
Accessible at all times but please keep dogs on leads near livestock and under control elsewhere.
Directions - Access via Argyle Gardens or The Chase, both of which run south off St Mary's Lane (B187) with footpaths leading on to the reserve.
Public Transport - Upminster station is about 20 minutes walk. Bus 248 from Upminster stations runs along St Marys Lane.
Did you know?
Parts of the wood are coppiced on a 12-year cycle.