Essex Wildlife Trust
This 22 acre reserve is a beautiful chain of old flood and dry meadows on the east bank of the River Chelmer south of Little Waltham, including a patch of Alder Carr woodland.
This 22 acre reserve comprises of old flood and dry meadows on the east bank of the River Chelmer south of Little Waltham, including a patch of Alder Carr woodland. It was acquired by Essex Wildlife Trust in 1996 with the help of a local appeal and a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It was also saved as a potential site for the Chelmer Valley Link Road, which Essex Wildlife Trust campaigned against in 2007.
What to look for:
A range of grassland plants can be found in the meadows, including meadow Saxifrage, Bee Orchid and Yellow Oat-grass. The interconnecting network of old hedgerows contain many ancient pollard or coppice stools of Elm, common and midland Hawthorn, Hazel, Willow, Alder and Oak.
Tawny Owl, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel all use the hedgerows and wood or hunt over the meadows. Kestrels regularly nest here and in Newland Grove downstream.
The meandering River Chelmer has a good range of plants, including Water Lilies, Brooklime and Flag Iris and supports Water Voles. Emperor Dragonfly, Common Darter, Ruddy Darter and Black-tailed Skimmer occur in the summer. Kingfishers and, on warm summer evenings, bats hunt for food along the river.
Accessible at all times. Dogs allowed if under effective control. Please keep dogs on a lead when there is livestock on the reserve.
Public Transport - bus services from Chelmsford run to Little Waltham via Broomfield to the east and via Essex Regiment Way to the east.
Directions - 400m west of the A130 Essex Regiment Way, just south of Little Waltham. Access is via Back Lane, Little Waltham parking on the wide verge at the end of the bridleway. The reserve can also be reached from Broomfield to the west and via Essex Regiment Way to the east.
Did you know?
Essex Wildlife Trust are improving the meadows by grazing them with cattle in the spring and summer to return them to their previously natural state.