Great Holland Pits Nature Reserve

Great Holland Pits in Autumn

Photo - Bob Seago 

Great Holland Pits Nature Reserve

Please note: as part of a Tendring Loves Conservation Heritage Lottery funded project currently taking place at this reserve, we will be improving the footpaths at Great Holland Pits w/c 16th August 2021. As a consequence of this, please be aware of the following when planning your visit: 

The car park will be subject to heavy lorry movements on a periodic basis

The car park will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday (18th and 19th)

Key stretches of footpath may be closed at short notice as required. 

Thank you

This enchanting nature reserve was once a working gravel pit but for the last 50 years has been transformed into a flourishing wildlife haven


Little Clacton Road
Great Holland
CO13 0EU

OS Map Reference

TM 204 190
A static map of Great Holland Pits Nature Reserve

Know before you go

13 hectares

Parking information

Small car park available. (Please note no parking is permitted on Mill Lane)

Grazing animals

Cows grazing in March and from August-November.
Ponies grazing from September-November

Walking trails

A number of paths weave around the ponds and patches of woodland, allowing a variety of walking distances 


Paths can be muddy when wet, particularly in wooded areas 


Dogs permitted
Under effective control


Bird hides

When to visit

Opening times

Accessible at all times

Best time to visit

April to July for insects

About the reserve

Wandering through the reserve you will pass remnants of old woodland, with Soft Shield and Hart’s-tongue Ferns blanketing the floor below. The scars of pits that once marked the landscape now holds ponds and wet depressions, favoured by the Kingfisher, Coot and Little Grebe that frequent here.

Areas of open grassland and pastures support many flowering plants, including the beautiful Yellow Archangel, Moschatel and the bizarre looking Mousetail plant, who’s strange flowers give the plant its name.

Reaching the areas of high ground, you will be provided with beautiful views over Holland Brook meandering its way through the water meadows. These diverse habitats found here are what makes it such an important site for many species of butterflies, moths and other invertebrates and home to many species besides.

Environmental designation

Local Wildlife Site (LWS)
Lon-eared Owl

Photo - Andrew Mason 

Did you know?

In winter, Long-eared Owls can sometimes be seen in the trees or hunting over the fields