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Backwarden

29ac/12ha  SSSI

Grid ref: TL 781 041 (click for o/s map)

Updated 25/08/2014


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This part of Danbury Common is known as The Backwarden and is leased to Essex Wildlife Trust by the National Trust. It has a great variety of habitats for its size. There are a number of pools and bogs; relic heathy areas with an increasing growth of heather; a small marsh; both old and secondary woodland, and notably some aspen groves; and blackthorn thickets.

It has a wide variety of flowers, including heathland species such as tormentil and heath milkwort and wetland species like marsh willowherb, fine-leaved water-dropwort, pennywort and common and lesser skullcap.

It is a special place for reptiles, including adders. Dormice are present also, and nesting birds include nightingale, blackcap and the three woodpecker species.

It is rich in insects, including the green hairstreak butterfly. Many brimstone butterflies appear in spring because of the alder buckthorn trees, foodplant of its caterpillars.

Visiting

Access is on the west side of the road running across Danbury Common from Danbury to Bicknacre.

Chelmsford-Maldon bus to Eve's Corner, and take the road signposted Danbury Common and Bicknacre. The entrance is on the right about 400m from the junction. The Chelmsford–S. Woodham Ferrers bus passes the reserve: ask for Danbury Common.

Accessible at all times

Worthwhile at any time of year; August especially recommended for the heather.

Please keep dogs under control.

Do not attempt to cross to the raised bog in the larger reedmace pool as conditions are dangerous.


Photo © Ken Wooldridge