Marsh Farm Country Park
350ac/142ha SSSI (part), SPA
Grid ref: TQ 810 961 (click for o/s map)
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Essex County Council operates Marsh Farm on a semi-commercial basis, raising cattle, sheep and other animals, and both the farm and the surrounding grazing marsh are open to the public, with a small charge for entry to the farm.
The grazing marsh has a long history going back to the 18th century. Part of its seawall was breached during the 'Great Flood' of 1953 and the remains are still visible from the new wall built further back.
The nature reserve towards the eastern end consists of rough grassland, saltmarsh and a scrape – a shallow water lagoon. Hares are often about in the grassland and reed buntings nest along the dykes. The scrape attracts many wildfowl in winter and at migration periods, and especially wigeon and teal.
Shelduck, dunlin and redshank feed in Clementsgreen Creek when the mud is exposed. In winter brent geese graze the fields west of the entrance and you may see flocks of snow buntings along the seawall.
From the Shaw Farm roundabout on the A132 (where it meets the B1012), turn right down Ferrers Road and follow Inchbonnie Road round to Marsh Farm Road. SatNav: CM3 5WP.
South Woodham Ferrers station is about two miles from Marsh Farm via the creekside path. Bus services run to the park from the station.
Accessible at all times via footpaths. Marsh Farm visitor centre open daily March–October, otherwise weekends only; 10am–5.30pm weekends, bank holidays and in summer, otherwise 10am–4.30pm. Visitor centre car park open 9am–6pm; riverside car park 8am–dusk.
Midsummer onwards for wild flowers and butterflies; migration periods and winter for birds.
Paths can be very muddy in winter. Website www.marshfarmcountrypark.co.uk. Information line 01245 324191, otherwise 01245 321552.