Stow Maries Halt
Grid ref: TQ 835 991 (click for o/s map)
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This Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserve consists of the former Stow Maries Halt on the disused Maldon to South Woodham Ferrers railway line, along with an adjoining four-acre meadow acquired later.
The remains of the platform are still visible by the reserve entrance and four species of fern – wall-rue, maidenhair spleenwort, black spleenwort and hartstongue – grow in the mortar of the bridge here. This part of the reserve grades from cutting to shallow embankment and consists largely of hawthorn and blackthorn scrub with occasional privet and a scattering of young oak and ash.
Scrub has been cleared from the lower part and a pond has been excavated in marshy ground in the north-west corner. In late spring there are many common spotted orchids and a number of adderstongue ferns, followed in summer by fleabane (in profusion), wild carrot and St John's worts.
Reached via Church Lane, which connects the lower Burnham road between South Woodham Ferrers and North Fambridge with the road through Stow Maries village. Cars can be parked on the wide grass verge of the bridge over the dismantled railway.
Accessible at all times.
Late spring for orchids; summer for wild flowers and insects (glow-worms in July).
Please keep your dog on a lead when sheep are grazing the reserve.