Langdon Nature Reserve
Grid ref: TQ 659 873 (click for o/s map)
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This is Essex Wildlife Trust's largest inland reserve, more than 500 acres of flower-rich meadows, ponds, ancient and secondary woodland, and hundreds of former plotland gardens. Its attraction lies in an abundance of wildlife once common in our countryside, including many species of butterfly. Badgers, foxes and weasels thrive and orchids can be counted in their thousands.
The original reserve consisted of four sections: from west to east these are Dunton Plotlands, Lincewood, Marks Hill and Willow Park. In 2007 the reserve was extended to include a large lake and some meadows immediately north of Dunton now called (unsurprisingly) 'Langdon Lake & Meadows'.
Dunton has a visitor centre, picnic area and an original plotland house preserved as a museum, so this is a good place to start a visit and explore the miles of paths.
4.5 miles east of M25 junction 29 between the A127 and the A13. Routes are signposted from the north from the B148 turning off the A127 and from the south from the A13 – follow the brown-and-white duck signs. SatNav: SS16 6EB.
Laindon station on the Fenchurch Street–Southend line is less than 800m from the reserve. Frequent bus services run from Basildon town centre to Laindon station, to Langdon Hills and to Highview Avenue.
Reserve accessible at all times. Dunton visitor centre open 9am – 5pm (4pm in winter).
Spring for breeding birds and early flowers such as primroses; summer for orchids and other flowers, and for birdsong; autumn for fruit and berries and for late butterflies.