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Sawbridgeworth Marsh Nature Reserve

The reserve will be closed to the public until Saturday 8th July due to breeding birds.

This 22 acre marshland nature reserve lies in the valley of the River Stort. It consists of ten acres of waterlogged marsh; six acres of peaty meadow sloping up from the marsh to the eastern boundary; and a low-lying willow plantation to the south.

This nature reserve is owned jointly by Essex and Herts & Middx Wildlife Trusts. Most of it is in Hertfordshire and a small part in Essex so it was acquired jointly by the two Trusts when the site became available in 1970.

What to look for:

There are plants which were once quite common but are now found on only a few sites in the county, such as Marsh Willowherb Marsh Valerian, Marsh Arrow-grass, Southern Marsh Orchid and Blunt-flowered Rush.

There are several open drainage ditches and two ponds rich in aquatic life. The areas of sedge, reeds and tall fen vegetation provide a valuable nesting habitat for reed and sedge warblers. In summer the reserve is alive with insects.

The management regime is designed to encourage diversity of species. Enclosures are grazed by horses and parts of the marsh are cut on an annual or biennial basis. To prevent it from smothering smaller plants, the dead material is raked off and either burnt or gathered into permanent stacks which provide a valuable habitat for grass snakes and invertebrates.


Accessible at all times. No dogs allowed. It is not suitable for wheelchair access.

Public Transport - About 800m north east of Sawbridgeworth railway station; turn left outside the station then left into Hallingbury Road.

Directions - To the west of the unclassified road from Sawbridgeworth to Gaston Green and Little Hallingbury. There is no car park but there are two small lay-bys on the opposite side of the road about 200m north of the reserve entrance. Care should be taken since the road is narrow and traffic travels at high speeds.

Did you know?

The most interesting time of the year to visit this reserve is during the spring and summer.

Species and habitats


Nearby nature reserves

Thorley Wash
1 miles - Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust
Rushy Mead Nature Reserve
2 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust
Hunsdon and Eastwick Meads
6 miles - Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Sawbridgeworth Marsh Nature Reserve
Map reference
TL 493 158
Best time to visit
Apr - Jul
Get directions
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Public transport
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Opening Times
Accessible at all times
8.90 hectares

The terrain is not suitable for wheelchair users.
No dogs allowed
Reserve manager
Essex Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01621 862960