Essex Wildlife Trust
This 25 acre reserve is the site of a house and once famous Edwardian gardens belonging to Ellen Willmott, it is now maintained as a nature reserve by Essex Wildlife Trust. There are some spectacular flowers to be enjoyed in the spring.
Miss Ellen Willmott remodelled the gardens and introduced into them a vast assortment of new plants from all over the world. Some are still found on the reserve.
What to look for:
The garden had fallen into neglect but has now been restored by an enthusiastic team of volunteers, although not in its original form. Part of the buildings remain and can still be seen and some areas are dangerous because of hidden cellars, water holes and decaying walls.
Warley comes into its own in the Spring when Snowdrops, followed by Daffodils and Crocuses can be seen in abundance and guided walks are available around this fascinating reserve. Winter Aconites, Anemones, Cranesbills and Ferns grow in profusion again, mingling with native species.
Among a variety of trees, some exotic, is a line of huge Sweet Chestnuts. The reserve attracts a wide variety of birds, including the Nuthatch, and has a good selection of invertebrates including stag beetles.
Areas have also been adapted as very suitable bat habitats.
Please keep to the footpaths, including the path across the East Meadow and follow the marked trail.
Public Transport - Infrequent buses from Brentwood to Romford and Grays run past the entrance; ask for Thatchers Arms.
No Dogs allowed on the nature reserve.
Directions - On the B186 (Brentwood to South Ockendon) just south of Brentwood. Entrance next to Thatchers Arms pub.
Did you know?
The path from the car park to the reserve was the drive to the house and before that the main road from Great Warley to Brentwood. The road was moved to its present position in the 19th century.
Warley Place is open to the public every day. The entrance is adjacent to the Thatchers Arms pub (post code CM13 3HU) and through a wooden barred gate that should be kept closed. If driving, a small car park is at the end of the short drive. Trail Guides are available at the next gate into the reserve. For further information on Warley Place please visit the Warley Place website.
During the months of February through to April, Warley Place comes alive with a profusion of snowdrops in the woodland and daffodils and crocuses in the two meadows. At weekends, volunteers will be on hand to meet and greet you and answer any questions you may have about Warley Place's habitat and history. Guided walks are also available on Saturday mornings. The dates for 2016 are to be confirmed.
Species and habitats