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“Great Place - we loved what we saw”

Abberton Reservoir Visitor Centre
Ranked #7 of 78 things to do in Colchester
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Visitors can enjoy walks on Essex Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve; with stunning panoramic views across the reservoir and surrounding villages as well as superb views of the water’s edge from three bird hides. The nature reserve has a 900m accessible circular footpath and there are wheelchairs available for use. The Visitor Centre offers a tearoom which is open seven days a week providing a variety of hot and cold food, most of which is locally sourced; easy access toilets & baby changing facilities; and a well-stocked shop which has binoculars, telescopes, bird food, feeders and a range of gifts. Essex Wildlife Trust runs a programme of events throughout the year for all ages as well as children’s outdoor birthday parties and a weekly toddler group available during term time; booking is required for all of our events. On the nature reserve there is a new Brambly Hedge sculpture trail, where you can find seven characters from the classic stories written by Jill Barklem; there is also a wild play area with a zip wire, v bridge, swings and spiderweb net. Essex Wildlife Trust is a charity and relies on donations to carry out its work for the wildlife and people of Essex. There is suggested entry donation of £2 for Adults £1 for children and £5 Family; car parking is free. The huge expanse of Essex & Suffolk Water’s Abberton Reservoir plays host to some 40,000 wetland birds each year all attracted to the shallow muddy margins and large areas of rough grassland, which provide the ultimate habitat for a plethora of wildlife and waterfowl. The Visitor Centre is 6 miles SW of Colchester on the B1026 (a minor road linking Colchester and Maldon) just South of Layer de la Haye - follow the brown and white "Abberton Reservoir visitor centre" signs.
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed August 5, 2014

The Abberton Reservoir Visitor Centre is a great place. We made our first visit there a couple of weeks ago and it will be a good place to keep returning to ... to watch everything grow. There is a small fee - we are thinking of becoming members of Essex Wildlife Trust and this may be a worthwhile thing to do.

We arrived very soon after opening and we were able to enjoy a quiet cuppa in the refreshment area. It is a self-service cuppa to to be had plus cakes - very enjoyable and reasonably priced (real cups and saucers/pay at the desk) and it was lovely sitting there - looking out through the picture windows at the view over a large pond outside and the reservoir beyond. The staff were very friendly and helpful. There is a small retail gift area, full of interesting items and books etc plus cabinets displaying binoculars for sale. There are toilets. The whole site is wheelchair friendly.

As we sat, a member of staff drew our attention to a Reed Bunting that was close by and we were able to watch it from the balcony area, just outside the cafe seating area. There are several ponds around - lilies were out and all manner of insects were enjoying them. We are no experts but perhaps we shall become them if we keep returning! We just know that we liked what we saw.

There is a lovely unique play area for children - bet they just love that. There are all manner of events for adults and children .. including birthday parties. There are benches placed periodically around the 24.20 hectare site for visitors to sit and contemplate. Trees have been planted and flower meadows planted. Sheep were munching in the large meadow - organic mowers :-)

All in all, we loved what we saw and it can only get better, with careful nurturing.

Thank Traveller51_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"essex wildlife trust"
in 14 reviews
"bird life"
in 7 reviews
"watch the birds"
in 5 reviews
"bird watchers"
in 5 reviews
"nature reserve"
in 8 reviews
"binoculars provided"
in 3 reviews
"coffee machine"
in 3 reviews
"cakes"
in 14 reviews
"wildlife centre"
in 2 reviews
"white egret"
in 2 reviews
"volunteer staff are"
in 2 reviews
"enjoy wildlife"
in 2 reviews
"visiting birds"
in 2 reviews
"canada geese"
in 3 reviews
"peaceful location"
in 2 reviews
"nature lovers"
in 2 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 13 reviews
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151 - 155 of 188 reviews

Reviewed July 16, 2014 via mobile

I live nearby so thought I would pop in. There is a donation box on the way in. The kids playground was lovely. My daughter loved the zip wire and the eggs in the nest. The cake was delicious, but the coffee was from a machine and was not great (think it was not working properly). I would like to run round the reservoir, but I think they have to link but more pathways before this is possible?

Thank gemyb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2014

Bright new visitors center great for all year round birding easy parking. Good Hides and many great walks and a great mix of birds and wildlife

2  Thank Robert H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2014

After a large reconstruction of the reservoir to increase it's capacity, the old centre was demolished and this new purpose built centre built in an excellent location with views over the reservoir. Light refreshments available. Small non compulsory payment on entry. Bird hides nearby.

Thank Mike D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 14, 2014

With the expansion of the reservoir Essex Wildlife Trust have the opportunity to significantly upgrade the facilities offered at their Reservoir visitors' centre with an imaginative new building and location. Due to its recent construction some of the plantings are still growing. They appear to have been carefully thought through and I have no doubt will quickly develop into first class facility.
Access is easy and with modern facility and equipment with a particularly impressive looking children's playground and new Birdwatching hides overlooking this important wetland site.
A small voluntary donation is requested but for those that value Essex wildlife, it is worth much more!

Thank Ryryry4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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