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Great Holland Pits


Grid ref: TM 204 190 (click for o/s map)

Updated 25/08/2014

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Except that it does not border an estuary, this Essex Wildlife Trust reserve is in many respects a smaller version of Fingringhoe Wick. Gravel was worked here until about 1964 but the scars have virtually disappeared beneath vigorous growth. Habitats include heathy grassland, pasture, a remnant of old woodland, large and small pools, and wet depressions.

From the high ground there are attractive views of Holland Brook meandering through water meadows.

It has a wide variety of flowering plants, including localised Essex species such as moschatel, yellow archangel, small-flowered buttercup, mousetail, carline thistle, several small clovers, true bulrush, and soft shield and hart's-tongue ferns.

There is a good variety of birdlife, with the nightingale among the summer visitors, and several aquatic species including kingfisher, coot and little grebe. Woodcock frequently use the reserve in winter


The reserve entrance is 800m west of the Lion's Den pub at Great Holland, north of the Little Clacton Road.

Buses stop at the Lion's Den on the route from Clacton to Walton.

Accessible at all times, but car park only daylight hours.

Spring and summer for flowers, birds and insects.

Photo © Owen Keen