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Hanningfield Reservoir Visitor Centre

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.

Events at Hanningfield Reservoir

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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.

There are some really good nature trails on the reserve for all to enjoy and the new orienteering course is proving extremely popular. 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 guide you around the reserve and wildlife activity bags can be hired for a small donation for the children to take out on the reserve.

Visitor Centre Facilities

Include gift shop offering light refreshments, toys, books, optics, bird feeders & feed, wildlife gardening products, greeting cards and much more. Toilets, disabled access toilet, baby changing facilities, wheel chair.

Viewing area looking out over the reservoir and the feeding stations which are set up outside so you can relax and enjoy a hot cuppa whilst 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.

 

Species and habitats

Habitats
Meadow, Ponds, Woodland
Species
Bluebell, Long-tailed Tit

Nearby nature reserves

Crowsheath Wood Nature Reserve
0 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust
Shotgate Thickets Nature Reserve
3 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust
Thrift Wood Nature Reserve
5 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Location
Hanningfield Reservoir Visitor Centre
Hawkswood Road, Downham
Billericay
Essex
CM11 1WT
Map reference
TQ 725 971
Great for...
a family day out
birdwatching
fungi
getting away from it all
overwintering birds
reptiles
spring flowers
spring migrant birds
stunning views
wildflowers
Best time to visit
Jan - Dec
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Daily 9am to 5pm
Closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Suggested Entrance Donation
£2 per adult, £1 per child or £5 per family
Facilities
Gift shop
Visitor centre
Picnic facilities
Toilets
Disabled toilet
Baby changing
Size
40.00 hectares
Access
Yes

Various routes around the reserve, no watersports or cycles permitted on the reserve. Contact the Trust for more information.
Walking information
No dogs allowed - dogs can be walked at the nearby Crowsheath Wood or Crowsheath Community Woodland.
Parking
Parking on site
Dogs
Guide dogs only
Reserve manager
Essex Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01268 711001
hanningfield@essexwt.org.uk