Little Haven Nature Reserve

A rich mosaic of woodland, meadows and flower-rich acid grassland that forms an important wildlife corridor in an urban area


Little Haven Nature Reserve, Daws Heath Road, Thundersley

OS Map Reference

A static map of Little Haven Nature Reserve

Know before you go

37 hectares

Parking information

Off-site street parking

Grazing animals

Cows grazing from April-October

Walking trails

Much of the reserve has trails that are accessible throughout the year although can be muddy in the winter so walking boots/wellies recommended. 


Access by foot can be gained from Daws Heath Road but not via the main Little Haven Hospice entrance


Dogs permitted
Please maintain that if dogs are not on leads that they are under close control between March and September to avoid disturbance to breeding birds

When to visit

Opening times

Accessible at all times

Best time to visit

March – August is the best time to visit for the woodland flowers

About the reserve

Essex Wildlife Trust manages Little Haven woods for our partners Havens Hospices as part of their Little Haven Hospice grounds. This wood forms part of the historical woodlands of the Daws Heath area, spanning from Hadleigh Great Wood in the east to Valerie Wells Wood in the west. 

Spring is when the wood comes alive! Before the tree's leaf buds explode and the tree canopy closes, the light can reach the woodland floor enabling the woodland herbs the chance to flower. Impressive displays of wood anemone, lesser celandine and bluebells create an array of white, yellow and blue. An early morning visit at this time of year can always be rewarded by the sound of song thrush, blackcap or the drumming of great-spotted woodpecker creating a rich dawn chorus.

The summer is the best time to see the flowering plants on the acidic grassland with regionally scarce plants such as Goldenrod, Heath Speedwell and Heath Milkwort all growing beneath the pylon corridor in this rare habitat. The dense hedges also provide important nesting sites for summer migrants such as whitethroat.

The autumnal colours are always worth seeing, and exploring the woodland floor will undoubtedly turn up fascinating fungi in various shapes and sizes.

The variety of habitats mean this wonderful woodland is worth a visit at any time of year.

Environmental designation

Local Wildlife Site (LWS)
Abberton Reservoir Visitor Centre

Did you know?

Essex Wildlife Trust carries out management under power lines to keep the area clear of trees. Management in this area has created an open corridor which has developed into species rich acidic grassland, a rare habitat in Essex. 200 years ago, the Starvelarks Wood area would have all been a flower rich acidic grassland and heather would have been a common site in the Daws Heath landscape.