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The Nature Discovery Centre offers superb views over the 870 acre Hanningfield Reservoir. Set in mature woodland the nature reserve has proved a popular bat roost with a beautiful carpet of Bluebells in the Spring. Bosting lovely woodland walks, taking in bird hides and views across the water. The reservoir itself is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the important numbers of wildfowl that use the reservoir in the autumn and winter, including Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Pochard.
Hanningfield is also home to some well-loved characters from the Wind in the Willows stories. Purchase a trail map from the centre to explore the woods and see who you might find along the way! Pathways are buggy friendly.
*Wind in the Willows sculpture trail – purchase your trail map in the centre.
*Wildlife garden and discovery area for children
*Bird Hides (Lyster hide – full disabled access)
*Café offering hot drinks and refreshments
*Shop – Nature based books & gifts, binoculars and bird food
We run an exciting range of events for all ages across our Nature Discovery Centres, please visit our Facebook pages for the most up to date information and booking details.
Car park, toilets including disabled and baby change facilities on site. Footpaths are buggy friendly and some routes are wheelchair friendly (please call the centre for further information).
Essex Wildlife Trust is the county’s leading conservation charity, committed to protecting wildlife and inspiring a lifelong love of nature. We value your support, all income generated from our sites enables us to continue this great work – thank you
Please note dogs are not allowed
Essex Wildlife Trust is a conservation charity - a suggested donation is stated at the welcome desk.
- Disabled access
- Disabled toilets
- Wheelchairs available
Booking & Payment Details
- Credit cards accepted (no fee)
- On-site light refreshments
- Picnic site
- Baby changing facilities
- Children welcome
- COVID-19 measures in place
- COVID-19 risk assessment completed
- COVID-19 staff training completed
- Education/study area
- Facilities for educational visits
- Facilities for groups
Meeting, Conference & Wedding Facilities
- Facilities for conferencing
- Facilities for corporate hospitality
- Free Parking
- Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)
- Gift shop
- Public toilets
- Smoking not allowed
- WiFi or internet access
- Accepts groups
- Coach parties accepted
Map & Directions
By Road: From the A12, turn off at Chelmsford and take the A1245 through Howe Green. Continue for approx 4 miles until you reach 'The Bell' pub in a dip and turn in South Hanningfield Road. Go to end of South Hanningfield Road, then turn right. Visitor centre is a few hundred yards on right hand side. Free parking available
Public Transport Directions
Accessible by Public Transport: Wickford station is 3 miles away.