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Hitchcock's Meadows

13ac/5ha  SSSI

Grid ref: TL 788 049 (click for o/s map)

Updated 25/08/2014

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On hilly land adjoining Danbury Common, about half of this reserve is flower-rich ancient pasture and the remainder is secondary woodland, scrubland and marsh. In 1998 Essex Wildlife Trust acquired the Dell and Dell Meadow on the other side of Gay Bowers Lane to extend it.

The main meadow, Toot Hill, a former lookout area from which the North Downs can be seen, contains green-winged orchid, common and heath dog violets, eyebright, common milkwort and autumn lady's tresses, among many other plants. In Ketley's Mead you will find hoary cinquefoil, wood sage and sweet briar.

The marsh is dominated by the bright emerald green of giant horsetail, with a patch of devilsbit scabious.

The small laneside meadow, Broken Back, has several uncommon clovers, pignut and knapweed and is excellent for butterflies.

The hedgerows and thickets harbour a good number of bird species and the reserve is rich in insect life, including glow-worms


East of Eve's Corner, Danbury, about 200m down Gay Bowers Lane, on both sides of the road. Park in the car park on Penny Royal Road and from there walk up to the A414 and turn right, then right again into Gay Bowers Lane.

Chelmsford-Maldon or Chelmsford-Woodham bus to Eve's Corner, Danbury.

Accessible at all times.

Late April–September for wild flowers (plus butterflies July–August and glowworms in July).

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

You may leave the paths if you wish, but please take care where you walk during the flowering season.

Photo © Geoff Pyman