Tiptree Heath Nature Reserve

Peter Bowden Heath at Tiptree Heath

Peter Bowden

Peter Bowden Tiptree Heath

Peter Bowden

Exmoor Ponies at Tiptree

Tiptree Heath Nature Reserve

The car park will closed for maintenance on Thursday 25 November.

The only place in Essex where you will find all three Heather species growing together and the largest area of lowland heathland in the county


Tiptree Heath Nature Reserve

OS Map Reference

A static map of Tiptree Heath Nature Reserve

Know before you go

24 hectares

Parking information

Large car park at entrance to the reserve

Grazing animals

Cows grazing from March-October

Walking trails

Lots of paths through and around the nature reserve


Unsurfaced but drains freely 


Under effective control
Please keep dogs on leads near livestock

When to visit

Opening times

Accessible at all times

Best time to visit

All year round

About the reserve

The common was first recorded in 1401, when it would have been possible to walk on heathland all the way from Colchester to Maldon. Now all that remains is Tiptree Heath, where the three species of Heather – Ling, Cross-leaved and Bell have been allowed to flourish. Visit in spring to see these beautifully coloured and dainty flowers all around the nature reserve. There are a number of lovely walks around the reserve and in spring and summer it is often possible to hear the wonderful song of a Nightingale or the famous call of the Cuckoo.

It is the only place in Essex where you can see Allseed and Chaffweed plants and the habitat also supports endangered mammals like the Dormouse. Look out for other unusual visitors such as a secretive Woodcock, the bright yellow of a Yellowhammer or even a Grass Snake basking in the sun.

The land has been grazed over the centuries by cows, sheep and ponies, which also helps the heathland by controlling invasive scrub species. Heathland requires constant care, therefore these traditional methods are still used today with a herd of Dexter cattle and our Exmoor Ponies visiting this reserve during the summer to help us sustainably manage it. 

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Tiptree Heath John More

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 re-appeared