Iron Latch Nature Reserve is located in Stanway just outside Colchester and only a stones throw from the A12 so finding the place is pretty easy, especially with satnav. You park opposite some houses in a small dead end section of road just off the Halstead Road itself and this gives easy access to the pathway that leads you down to the nature reserve . First impressions of walking down Iron Latch Lane were, to be honest, not that good as directly behind some houses there is a housing estate being built on one side and an existing estate on the other. But as soon as you cross the railway bridge everything changes and you are immediately surrounded by some beautiful countryside. On the left is a lovely looking Private Woodland which does not allow access to the public but there was plenty of tracks running into it so I had a little explore, Oh what a rebel I am. On the righthand side of the Lane is farmland as far as you see and this was being bathed in bright sunlight whilst I was there. Before long I was at a junction in the lane and I could see a gate with the ESSEX WILDLIFE TRUST sign on it to my right so that was the direction I headed.
Walking around the gate a track leads you down to a gorgeous little paddock called DAVIDS MEADOW and when I got to the fence I followed the pathway left which runs between the paddock on your right and the woodland on your left. As I walking this path around the perimeter of the paddock I could hear an engine of some sort and eventually through a clearing in the bushes I could see someone cutting some tall grass in the actual paddock using a large commercial type mower, it turns out this was a lady from the Trust, I noticed her van parked near mine on my return. I would off liked to of stopped and had a chat with her about the reserve and what she was doing but unfortunately she was working too far into the paddock and I doubt she even noticed I was there, and I wasn’t about to run across the paddock waving my arms around like some mad man to get her attention.
The walk around the paddock was lovely with a few different species of mushroom to be found whilst listening to songbirds singing in the hedgerows. I also spotted a kestrel hovering further out in one of the farmers fields, I do love seeing these graceful birds of prey. Once I had returned to starting corner of the paddock I retraced my steps down the left side of it before turning left this time and along another track with a small stream on my right and the woodland still on my left. If there was one thing I would of liked to of done that would of been to explore deeper into the reserves woodland but being so small, and actually quite ‘tight’ with undergrowth, I guess its not possible to cut a path into it. It is a beautiful woodland to view from the outside though.
It was not too long before I was back on Iron Latch Lane and heading back up the inclining lane towards my van. It was a lovely little walk around a beautiful woodland and paddock area and I will return. I reckon this reserve will look its best in the warmer months so I plan to revisit it in Spring time when nature really starts to come alive again.
I have recorded my visit in my KOMOOT account so click HERE to see the exact route I walked around the reserve.
Another little oasis maintained by ESSEX WILDLIFE TRUST that I would recommend you visit.