Hanningfield Reservoir Walk
This large body of water near Billericay has some nice woodland walking trails at its southern end. There's a good size parking area at the end of Giffords Lane, off South Hanningfield Road. From here you can pick up the walking trails, heading west through Well Wood and Hawk's Wood. There's nice views over the water, pretty grazing meadows and a waterside cafe near the car park. Look out for lots of bluebells in the spring months.
The area is also a significant nature reserve with lots of wildfowl to look for on the reservoir. From the bird hides you can see coot, gadwall, tufted duck, pochard, shoveler, shelduck and great crested grebe. There's also a good visitor centre with information, refreshments, toys, books, birdfeeders and feed.
The St Peters Way long distance trail runs past the northern side of the water. It will take you through the countryside from West Hanningfield to East Hanningfield.
Just a couple of miles south west of the reservoir you will find Norsey Woods. The 165 acre site includes waymarked woodland trails with lots of wildlife to look out for around the ponds and streams.
The site is also located close to Danbury Common and Danbury Country Park where there are more good walking trails.
PostcodeCM11 1WT - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations
Hanningfield Reservoir Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Hanningfield Reservoir Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Hanningfield Reservoir OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Hanningfield Reservoir Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
Head to the Cafe on the Water for some refreshments after your walk. There is a lovely area outside on the decking with spectacular views over the Reservoir, which is open from April to November each year. It's the perfect place to relax on a warm summer day.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
One nice idea is to head west into Billericay and visit the splendid Imperial Bird of Prey Academy. It's the leading Bird of Prey Centre in Essex, based at Barleylands Farm & Craft Village and one of the real highlights of the area. You can handle the birds and spend some time flying an owl. There's also a wonderful flying display, a reptile house and informative talks to enjoy. You can find it in Billericay at a postcode of CM11 2UD for your sat navs.
Just to the east is the lovely Marsh Farm Country Park in South Woodham Ferrers. Around here you can also visit the interesting village of Battlesbridge. The village is home to a number of well known antiques shops including the Battlesbridge Antiques Centre housed in the old mill. Just to the west there's also Wickford where you can visit the Shotgate Thicket Nature Reserve and the pretty Wick Country Park.
The Billericay Walk starts in the lovely Park Meadows in the town centre. It visits Norsey Woods before heading through the countryside to visit the dam at the northern end of the water.
Head a few miles north of the reservoir and you can visit Galleywood Common. The area includes easy woodland trails and open grassland with a good commonside pub to visit as well. It's a fine place to walk the dog, fly a kite and enjoy some peaceful surroundings near the city.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Essex Walks page.