Providing panoramic views over the 870 acre reservoir. The visitor centre is set in mature woodland and has proved a popular bat roost, with a beautiful carpet of Bluebells in the spring.
A warm welcome will always greet you at Hanningfield reservoir visitor centre.The visitor centre is set in mature woodland and offers superb views over the 870 acre Hanningfield Reservoir. It is an ideal place to view the wildlife within the nature reserve and to receive the latest sightings news. The centre has full disabled access as does the Lyster Bird hide that is a short distance away. There are lots of gifts in the centre shop and a full range of binoculars and telescopes, as well as books and refreshments. So while you're enjoying a nice warming drink you can take time to enjoy the stunning view over the water and browse the display.
The nature reserve offers some beautiful walks through the woodland, taking in bird hides, ponds and views across the reservoir. The site is run in partnership with Essex & Suffolk Water and you can walk through the reserve to the Essex & Suffolk Water Fishing Lodge and the Cafe on the Water. The reservoir itself is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the important numbers of wildfowl that use the reservoir in the autumn and winter, including Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Pochard. The spectacle of thousands of Swifts, Swallows and Martins feeding over the water during peak fly hatches is one of the delights for the summer visitor. 30 acres of the woodland are ancient in origin and spring flowers include carpets of Bluebells and Stitchwort.A colony of Soprano pipistrelle bats use our visitor centre as a maternity roost, spending several months here each year and delighting visitors in the evenings as they head out on their search for food. We run regular bat counts and events where you can learn more about these fascinating mammals.
There are some really good nature trails for all to enjoy and advice is always on hand in the visitor centre, to help identify wildlife and to inform visitors of the best locations to see and experience wildlife. A trail guide is available from the visitor centre to help you around the reserve.
In 2015 we installed the Wind in the Willows Trail for children. Buy the special map at the visitor centre and then head out to look for the five wooden Wind in the Willows sculptures on the reserve. At each sculpture you can use the back of the map to make your very own brass rubbings of Badger, the Weasels, Ratty, Mole and Mr Toad
Visitor Centre Facilities
Our facilities include a charming refreshment area and gift shop offering light refreshments, toys, books, birdfeeders and feed, greeting cards and an excellent range of binoculars and other optic equipment. We also provide toilets, a disabled access toilet with a baby changing facilities, a wheelchair and a high chair.
The viewing area gives superb views out over the reservoir and the feeding stations so you can relax and enjoy some refreshments while watching the wildlife.
Room for Hire at Hanningfield Reservoir Visitor Centre
An ideal venue for seminars, meetings, training workshops and corporate events. Set against the wonderful backdrop of an 870 acre reservoir and 100 acre woodland reserve! Seats 50 conference style and 30 board room style. Facilities available include: cloakroom, pull down projector screen, laptop and projector (subject to availability), teas and coffees available at £1.00 per cup. Approximate size: 9 metres x 5.5 metres. Phone 01268 711001 for further details and to book.