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Little Waltham Meadows


Grid ref: TL 713 119 (click for o/s map)

Updated 10/12/2020.

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A chain of old flood and dry meadows on the east bank of the River Chelmer south of Little Waltham, including a patch of alder carr woodland. It was acquired by Essex Wildlife Trust in 1996 with the help of a local appeal and a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A range of grassland plants can be found in the meadows, including meadow saxifrage, bee orchid and yellow oat-grass. The interconnecting network of old hedgerows contain many ancient pollard or coppice stools of elm, common and midland hawthorn, hazel, willow, alder and oak.

Tawny owl, sparrowhawk and kestrel all use the hedgerows and wood or hunt over the meadows. Kestrels regularly nest both here and in Newland Grove downstream.

The meandering River Chelmer has a good range of plants, including water lilies, brooklime and yellow iris, and supports water voles. Emperor dragonfly, common darter, ruddy darter and black-tailed skimmer occur in the summer. Kingfishers and, on warm summer evenings, bats hunt for food along the river.

The alder spinney provides a fine show of marsh marigolds in spring, followed by fool's watercress and flote grass in summer.


400m west of the A130 Essex Regiment Way, just south of Little Waltham. Access is via Back Lane, Little Waltham: there is a small car at the end of the bridleway. The reserve can also by reached from Broomfield from the other end of that bridleway to Croxton's Mill.

Bus services from Chelmsford run to Little Waltham via Broomfield to the west and via Essex Regiment Way to the east.

Accessible at all times

Please keep dogs on a lead when there is livestock on the reserve.

© Janet Spencer