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Iron Latch


Grid ref: TL 951 261 (click for o/s map)

Updated 25/08/2014

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A flower-rich meadow, plus four acres of woodland, long established and possibly ancient. It is quite wet in parts with a good selection of trees, especially ash.

When grazing ceased in the 1950s the meadow reverted to secondary woodland. This was cleared by the Trust in the early 1980s with the aim of recovering the species-rich grassland, which once held colonies of green-winged orchids and common spotted orchids. Now it is managed by mowing and sheep grazing.

Barren and wild strawberry and birdsfoot trefoil flower in the meadow. Birdsfoot trefoil is a foodplant of the common blue and this and several other butterfly species are a special feature. Purple hairstreaks can be seen around the hedgerow oaks.

Nightingales nest in the coppiced woodland and in the managed hedgerows, and also in the neigbouring woodland that has developed on old gravel workings


Three miles west of Colchester town centre at Eight Ash Green. It is reached by way of the unmade Iron Latch Lane which runs north from the old Halstead road at TL 955 254. Park at the south end of the service road to houses numbered 96 to 132 Halstead Road. Walk up Iron Latch Lane (no access for vehicles), cross over the railway bridge and continue with woodland on your left. The reserve lies to the right of the footpath at the end of the field on your right.

Buses from Colchester to Fordham and Wakes Colne run along Halstead Road.

Accessible at all times

May for grassland flowers, and late summer for butterflies.

Please keep dogs on a lead near livestock.

Photo © David Corke