Essex Wildlife Trust logo

Roman River Valley

37ac/15ha  SSSI

Grid ref: TL 975 211 (click for o/s map)

Updated 10/12/2020.

Available also via books and apps – click here for details.

Mouse over links for pictures; click for detail page.

A fragment of traditional river valley landscape. The Roman River is a narrow stream at this point, and meanders through marsh and woodland, mostly old.

The marsh is fed by springs filtering out of glacial gravels, and is full of aquatic plants including one that is unusual – the small teasel, which has globular white flowers in late summer.

The woodland is part of Needle Eye Wood, and has a variety of trees including standard oaks, coppiced hornbeam and several old yews. Its flowering plants include yellow archangel and moschatel.

Birdlife includes most of the common woodland species and occasionally nightingales. Like most wetland sites it has a rich insect life as well.


Both parking and access are difficult for the entrance north of Kingsford Bridge. Instead, park in Layer-de-la-Haye on New Cut (or a side road), a turning off the B1026 about 700m south of Kingsford Bridge, and access the reserve via one of the two public footpaths (leaving at each of its two bends) off New Cut.

Bus services from Colchester to Layer and Maldon pass the entrance.

Accessible at all times.

April–May for birdsong and early flowers; July for dragonflies and other insects.

© Roger Jones