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Shotgate Thickets

9ac/4ha  

Grid ref: TQ 767 942 (click for o/s map)

Updated 25/08/2014


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This Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserve is situated on the north bank of the tidal River Crouch, which is narrow at this point. It consists of thorn thickets, rough grassland and large ponds. With the adjoining river banks and railway embankment this small area has a surprising diversity of habitats and, consequently, of wildlife.

Well over 100 plant species can be found, including golden dock and dyer's greenweed. More than 70 species of bird have been recorded, about half of which breed on or near the reserve. This includes all three species of woodpecker, and a good selection of finches and warblers.

The ponds teem with life and eleven species of dragonfly have been identified, including the emerald damselfly and black-tailed skimmer. Butterflies are numerous. Among the other insects roesel's bush-cricket is found in good numbers

Visiting

800m north-east of Wickford. Access is either through Southlands farm (parking at far end of the farm road) or west along the river bank from Battlesbridge, starting close to the Hawk public house.

Occasional buses along the A132 or train to Battlesbridge.

Accessible at all times.

At its best in mid-to-late spring when scrub and wood resound with birdsong.

The large pond has steep banks and deep water.


Photo © Tony Gunton