Fordham Hall Estate
Grid ref: TL 927 287 (click for o/s map)
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This is a former arable farm surrounding the village of Fordham. More than 47,000 trees have been planted to create 300 acres of new woodland. Some 15km of hedgerows, some probably ancient in origin, have been retained. Most of the remaining 200 acres adjoining the River Colne have been resown with grass and wild flowers and are being managed by cutting and grazing.
The River Colne runs along the southern boundary within steep banks and the meadows alongside are marshy and flood in winter. The dampest patches support wetland species such as purple loosestrife, brooklime and yellow iris. Mature willows and alders grow along the river bank.
The wildlife potential of such a large area is considerable and many bird and bat boxes have been put up to encourage colonisation. Otters and water voles occupy the river, barn owls are seen regularly and skylarks nest in the open fields.
Turn off the A1124 (Colchester–Halstead) in the village of Fordstreet, on to Ponders Road. There is a parking area on the left shortly after you reach Fordham village. SatNav: CO6 3LY.
Hourly bus service Colchester–Halstead runs through Fordstreet.
Accessible at all times.
Spring for breeding birds; summer for flying insects and wild flowers in the meadows; warm summer evenings for bats.