Great Holland Pits in Autumn

Photo - Bob Seago 

Great Holland Pits Nature Reserve

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

16 hectares

Parking information

The car park is currently closed. (Please note no parking is permitted on Mill Lane)

Grazing animals

Occasionally sheep and ponies

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.

Contact us

Environmental designation

Environmentally Sensitive Area
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