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Tiptree Heath Nature Reserve

The largest area of lowland heathland remaining in Essex. This 60 acre site is the only place in Essex where you will find all three Heather species growing together, Ling, Cross-leaved and Bell. There are wonderful walks and the common was first recorded in 1401.

Events at Tiptree Heath

In 1977 when the first map of Essex was produced you could walk on heathland all the way from Colchester to Maldon, now all that remains is Tiptree Heath. It is formed on the sandy gravel ridge left by the last Ice Age and is the finest and largest area of lowland heathland in Essex, and the only place where you will find all three heather species growing together.

It is common land, first recorded in 1401, and over the centuries there has been the grazing of cows, sheep and ponies and the local people have made use of its gorse, heather and bracken for household purposes. Tiptree Heath is managed jointly by Essex Wildlife Trust and The Friends of Tiptree Heath.

What to look for:

In the summer you can see a range of heathland flowers, dominated by the three heather species Common Ling, Bell Heather and Cross-leaved Heath. Ling Heather, which is tall and vigorous enough to survive in gorse, covers large areas and there are areas of Bell Heather and a small amount of Cross-leaved Heath that prefers the wetter parts. In late summer, Harebells can be seen with their dainty blue bell-shaped flowers.

It is the only place in Essex where you can see Allseed and Chaffweed plants. You may also spot unusual visitors or residents such as Nightingales, Woodcock, Yellowhammer, Dormice, Water Voles, Badgers and Grass Snakes.

Heathland needs constant care and the site is undergoing a restoration project. Many management techniques are used to control invasive scrub to increase the areas of heath and grassland, from volunteers with hand tools, through to tractor-based cutters and diggers. In 2008 Essex Wildlife Trust introduced a small herd of Dexter cattle that graze the Heath from the spring to the autumn to assist with the management.

Accessible at all times.

Public Transport - A regular bus service runs between Maldon and Colchester runs along the B1022 past the heath.

Dogs allowed if under effective control.

Directions - The heath straddles the B1022 (Colchester-Maldon) and is 800m on the Maldon side of Tiptree.

Did you know?

In the mid 20th century, the common land laws were suspended and the site was ploughed up for agriculture. However, it produced only poor crops and in 1955 was sown with grass seed and left to look after itself. The result was that some of it turned into light woodland and scrub, but on large areas the heathland plants reappeared.

Species and habitats


Nearby nature reserves

Shut Heath Wood Nature Reserve
2 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust
Oxley Meadow Nature Reserve
2 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust
Chigborough Lakes Nature Reserve
4 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Tiptree Heath
Nature Reserve
On the B1022 (Colchester - Maldon) and is 800m on the Maldon side of Tiptree
Map reference
TL 883 147
Best time to visit
Apr - Sep
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
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Opening Times
Accessible at all times.
24.30 hectares
Dogs allowed
Grazing animals
Exmoor Ponies
Reserve manager
Essex Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01621 862960


Factsheets and guides for your visit