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Chigborough Lakes


Grid ref: TL 877 086

Updated 31/12/2023.

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These are worked-out flooded gravel pits. The western section was left unrestored after extraction and as a result it has a great variety of habitats, including willow carr, open water, small ponds, marshy areas, grassland and thorn scrub.

Extraction has also left some low-nutrient areas with interesting flowers, such as common spotted orchids and wild strawberry.

Trees of note include a single wild service tree, a veteran oak pollard and two black poplar. It has eleven different types of willow, including almond and purple willow and several pollarded cricket-bat willows.

Breeding birds include great crested grebe and little grebe, little egret, grey heron, kingfisher and increasing numbers of cetti's warbler. Smew visit in winter.

Most of the commoner butterflies and dragonflies can be seen in summer.


About a mile up the B1026 from Heybridge towards Tolleshunt d'Arcy, turn north into Chigborough road. Continue past the fishery entrance and Chigborough Farm buildings, until you see the entrance gate to Chigborough Quarry. The reserve entrance is about 50m beyond this, on the left. SatNav: CM9 4RB.

Buses from Colchester to Maldon Leisure Centre run along the B1026.

Accessible at all times.

April–July for birds, flowers and butterflies; October–February for wintering wildfowl.

Easy-access path leads north from car park to a seat overlooking Gadwall Lake.

Please keep dogs on leads when there is livestock on the reserve.


© Phil Luke