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Hanningfield Reservoir

Giffords Lane, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 8HX


A Great Fishing Venue and Nature Reserve

Hanningfield Reservoir Nature Reserve Visitor Centre

The Nature Reserve at Hanningfield Reservoir

A warm welcome will always greet you at Hanningfield Reservoir Visitor Centre. The visitor centre is set in mature woodland and offers superb views over the 870 acre Hanningfield Reservoir.  It is an ideal place to view the wildlife within the nature reserve and to receive the latest sightings news.  The centre has full disabled access as does the Lyster Bird hide that is a short distance away. There are lots of gifts in the centre shop and a full range of binoculars and telescopes, as well as books and refreshments. So, while you're enjoying a nice warming drink, you can take time to enjoy the stunning view over the water and browse the display.

The nature reserve offers some beautiful walks through the woodland, taking in bird hides, ponds and views across the reservoir. The site is run in partnership with Essex & Suffolk Water and you can walk through the reserve to the Essex & Suffolk Water Fishing Lodge and the Cafe on the Water.  

The reservoir itself is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the important numbers of wildfowl that use the reservoir in the autumn and winter, including Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Pochard.  The spectacle of thousands of Swifts, Swallows and Martins feeding over the water during peak fly hatches is one of the delights for the summer visitor. 30 acres of the woodland are ancient in origin and spring flowers include carpets of Bluebells and Stitchwort.  

There are some really good nature trails on the reserve for all to enjoy and the new orienteering course is proving extremely popular.  Advice is always on hand in the visitor centre, to help identify wildlife and to inform visitors of the best locations to see and experience wildlife.

Opening:  Daily 9am to 5pm

Address: Hawkswood Road , Downham, Billericay, Essex, CM11 1WT

Grid ref: TQ 725 971

As this site is a bird sanctuary we regret No Dogs Allowed - dogs can be walked at the nearby Crowsheath Wood or Crowsheath Community Woodland