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Woodham Fen

31ac/13ha  SSSI, SPA

Grid ref: TQ 798 975 (click for o/s map)

Updated 25/08/2014

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This nature reserve lies between and near the tidal limits of two small creeks running south into the River Crouch. It was common land given in the 12th century by the Lords of the Manor to the poor of the community to graze animals. The southern part is saltmarsh and the northern rough grassland with a natural transitional zone between the two – now very unusual in Essex.

It has a wide range of saltmarsh plants, including sea wormwood, and the grassland is full of wild flowers, including unusual ones such as slender birdsfoot trefoil, grass vetchling, wild carrot and crested hair-grass.

It also attracts many unusual birds, such as reed bunting, yellow wagtail and meadow pipit, and a variety of small waders occur on passage. Teal, common and jack snipe, and rock pipit are to be found in winter, when kingfishers hunt along the creeks for eels. Barn owls and other birds of prey hunt over the grassland for the many field voles.

Bush-crickets and saltmarsh moths are notable among the insects. Essex skipper and a number of the other common butterflies are abundant, as are common lizards and slow worms.

The reserve lies within a much larger area of common land owned by South Woodham Ferrers Town Council. This area is managed on advice from the Trust and in all includes about 85 acres of grassland, scrub, ditches and ponds


Just west of South Woodham Ferrers. Can be reached from the A132 (Basildon/Wickford–Woodham) at the Shaw Farm roundabout, 4.5 miles from Wickford, where it meets the B1012, or from Ferrers Road, which leads into the town.

About five minutes' walk from the railway station at South Woodham Ferrers via the waymarked footpath from the rear of the station car park.

Accessible at all times.

Mid-summer onwards for wild flowers and butterflies; migration periods and winter for birds.

Paths can be very muddy in winter. Guides to the reserve are available from Woodham Town Council office in Reeves Way or Town Information Office in Baron Road Parade.

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