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Hanningfield Reservoir

#3 of 20 things to do in Billericay Features Animals
Hanningfield Reservoir Visitors Centre Hawkswood Road | Downham, Billericay CM11 1WT, England
+44 1621 862960
Review Highlights
Good for all ages

Good views of birds and lake from centre; birds seen listed; possible to get coffee from machine... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Elizabeth S
Lovely nature walk!

We came here for an afternoon visit after, as had not been since we were children! It is a lovely... read more

Reviewed 13 May 2017
via mobile
Read all 215 reviews
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Set in mature woodland and offering superb views over the 870 acre Hanningfield Reservoir; Hanningfield nature reserve itself offers beautiful walks through the woodland; visiting bird hides, ponds and appreciating views across the reservoir. The site is run in partnership with Essex & Suffolk Water where you can venture through to their Cafe on the Water or take up a day’s fishing at the Fishing Lodge. 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. New from March 2015 came the Wind in the Willows sculpture and brass rubbing trail with five sculptures from the much loved story of Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad. Maps are available at the visitor centre for 50p as well as exclusive books and gifts in partnership with the River & Rowing Boat Museum, Henley-on-Thames. If you fancy venturing further than Mr Toad down by the pond there are great nature trails on the reserve for all to enjoy. Advice is always on hand in the visitor centre, to help identify wildlife and to share the latest hotspots to experience wildlife. A trail guide is available from the visitor centre at 40p, to guide you around the reserve and wildlife activity bags can be hired for a small donation for the children to take out on the reserve. The reserve has full disabled access including Lyster Bird hide, just a short distance away. The centre boasts a wide array of gifts, range of Hawke & Opticron binoculars and telescopes; as well as books and refreshments including sandwiches, cake, tea and coffee. Take a seat at our seating area whilst you are enjoying your hot drinks and enjoy the stunning views over the reservoir. Visitor Centre Facilities Include gift shop offering light refreshments, toys, books, optics binoculars and scopes, bird feeders & feed, wildlife gardening products, greeting cards and much more. Toilets, disabled access toilet, baby changing facilities, wheel chair accessibility. Booking is essential for all centre events, so make sure you call or visit the centre in advance to avoid disappointment. No dogs except registered assistance dogs. No bicycles allowed.
  • Excellent38%
  • Very good46%
  • Average9%
  • Poor2%
  • Terrible5%
Travellers talk about
Closed Now
All hours
Hours Today: 09:00 - 17:00
Suggested Duration: More than 3 hours
Hanningfield Reservoir Visitors Centre Hawkswood Road | Downham, Billericay CM11 1WT, England
+44 1621 862960
Write a Review
Reviews (215)
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1 - 10 of 215 reviews

Reviewed 1 week ago

Good views of birds and lake from centre; birds seen listed; possible to get coffee from machine now; interesting shop; access to walks to hides, various willow structures, Wind in the Willows characters to spot, wheelchair friendly paths for some way

Thank Elizabeth S
Reviewed 13 May 2017 via mobile

We came here for an afternoon visit after, as had not been since we were children! It is a lovely nature walk with lots to see we see loads of squirrels up close, rabbits lot of different birds and was even lucky to see 2...More

Thank Michelle_V92
Reviewed 12 May 2017

Set in a picturesque setting amongst trees on the south side of Hanningfield Reservoir, the Visitor's Centre has a shop and café. For bird watchers there are several hides on the reservoir banks and an abundance of birds both in the trees and on the...More

Thank Mike D
andym22017, Manager at Hanningfield Reservoir, responded to this reviewResponded 15 May 2017

Dear Mike D, Thankyou for your very thorough review of Hanningfield Reservoir, its reserve and visitor centre. Glad you gave us 5 stars, and hope to see you down here again soon. Andy, Centre Manager

Reviewed 1 May 2017

The Bluebells here are great, and a lovely place for taking pictures. The Visitor Centre was nice and the staff were very helpful. To see the bluebells from the Visitor centre you'll need to walk about 30mins which is a lovely walk, but there is...More

Thank Dan N
Management response:Responded 3 May 2017

Dear Dan N, Thanks for your lovely review of our site. Well done for getting out to see the bluebells in Well Wood. We think there's still a couple of weeks left to see them at their best. And thanks for your comments about our...More

Reviewed 29 April 2017

wanted to pop out for a couple of hours in the countryside and decided to go to hanningfield. We visited the visitors centre than followed one of the nature trails for 30 mins. It was colder than we thought so we cut our visit short...More

Thank londonphil123
Management response:Responded 3 May 2017

Dear phil p, Thankyou for your review of the Reservoir and Visitor Centre. The closest you get to the water is our bird hides which sit directly over the water, and also at the other end of the reserve you can get to the water's...More

Reviewed 27 April 2017

I visited here over the Easter week end and it was packed with kids searching for clues so they could get an Easter egg. They all seemed to be enjoying it but I am sure the woods are not normally so busy. I was there...More

Thank Barry A
Management response:Responded 3 May 2017

Dear Barry A, Thankyou for your review of the reserve here at Hanningfield. Easter was indeed a very busy time with almost 800 people coming through on Easter Sunday. A normal day is much quieter but I'm glad you got out to see the lovely...More

Reviewed 21 April 2017

Its bluebell time and if you go down to these woods today you will find carpets of blue. If you haven't been before then ask the staff how best to approach the main areas in flower. The sight lifts the spirit. Its a great area...More

Thank OrdinHarryman
Management response:Responded 3 May 2017

Dear OrdinHarryman, Thankyou for your lovely review of the reserve here at Hanningfield. I'm really pleased you got out to look at the bluebells and as you say, they are at their peak right now. Thanks also for your donation and suggestion for people to...More

Reviewed 16 April 2017

Very friendly and helpful staff,if you like nature its a great place for a leisurely walk around the resevoir and woods. The fishing lodge serves nice food and the staff are great. Will visit again and can recommend.More

Thank K S
Management response:Responded 3 May 2017

Dear K S, Thankyou for your review of the Visitor Centre and Reserve here at Hanningfield. It sounds like you had a good walk. We are a separate business to the Fishing Lodge and have our own café here at the Visitor Centre. Hope to...More

Reviewed 5 April 2017

Great afternoon, walked the trails and got to see lots of wildlife. The facilities are nice and clean and the staff friendly.

Thank Steven N
Management response:Responded 9 April 2017

Dear Steven N, Thanks for your review; great to hear you got out and about and enjoyed our facilities. I'll pass on your comments to our staff and volunteers. All the best, Andy, Centre Manager

Reviewed 4 April 2017 via mobile

Started at the Visitor centre for a cup of tea, Gluten free cake (couldnt taste the difference) and hot chocolate. Cake was amazing, great views overlooking the resevoir, squirrells, ducks and Rabbits were there to look at up close while we ate and drank. The...More

Thank Iain F
Management response:Responded 9 April 2017

Dear Iain F, Thankyou for your lovely review. It sounds like you explored a lot and managed to see plenty of wildlife. Glad you liked the centre too; we try to have lots of variety in what we have on sale, including the wooden bowls...More

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Questions & AnswersAsk a question
Graham T
Dog walking rules?
7 May 2017|
Response from andym22017 | Property representative |
Hello Graham, Dogs are not allowed onto the Reserve, except guide dogs. There is a nice area to walk your dogs at Crowsheath Community Woodland, on Crowsheath Lane, which is about half a mile from us at the Visitor Centre.