John Weston Nature Reserve
Know before you go
Parking informationPay and display car park at the Naze centre, walk along the cliffs northwards until you reach the northern seawall
Bicycle parkingYes (at the Naze centre)
Grazing animalsCows grazing from May-October
Sheep grazing from July-August
A footpath leads to and around the reserve
Walk along the cliffs northwards, until you reach the northern seawall with views of the reserve to the south
When to visit
Opening timesAccessible at all times
Best time to visitSpring/summer for migrant birds autumn/winter for overwintering birds
About the reserve
Tucked away at the Northern end of the Naze public space is the John Weston nature reserve, so called after the reserves late Warden and leading Essex Naturalist, John Weston.
Rough grassland, Blackthorn and Bramble thickets and four ponds hold host to a variety of wildlife, including flowering plants and grasses such as Parsley Water-dropwort, Pepper Saxifrage, and Bush Grass.
During the spring and summer, the reserve comes alive with song and movement, from flitting butterflies to calling Common and Lesser Whitethroats. Listen carefully for the distinctive call of the Water Rail; if you’re lucky you may even spot one hiding at the edge of the reeds. Like the Water Rail, Cetti’s Warblers are more likely to be heard than seen.
Though small, this reserve is an important landfall for autumn and spring migrants while also attracting a range of winter visitors. If you are visiting, make sure to pop in to The Naze Centre for a cup of tea and a slice of cake!
Did you know?
The large cliffs found just around the corner of the reserve are an incredibly important geological feature. They are made up of different sediment layers, most importantly 'Red Crag', a sandy deposit formed around 3 million years ago when the sea covered most of Essex. The cliffs are full of fossils!