Overview

Silvermeade

Silvermeade is a stronghold for the highly endangered Water Vole and is one of the best places in the region for viewing this charismatic species. It’s also an excellent site for dragonflies. Its wet meadows are intersected by a network of ditches, pools and reedbeds.

Water Vole

Water Vole and their field signs can be seen throughout the year but spring is a particularly good time to look for them as they’re actively reasserting their territories. Look out for signs such as piles of neatly cut grass stems, piles of droppings or the tracks they create as they move along the bank.

In spring you can’t miss the delicate pink-white of Cuckooflower, so called as it flowers around the same time as the first Cuckoo is heard. The striking pink flowers of Ragged Robin can also be seen amongst the grasses and sedge. Both plants thrive in the damp meadows found here.

The ditches are home to dragonflies. The Hairy Dragonfly is one of the earliest to emerge. Look along the ditches to see them hunting for food from May onwards. The Banded Demoiselle is an impressive damselfly; the male has conspicuous dark banding on its wings.

The long grass adjacent to the water is a good place to see Grass Snake which often hunt for their prey along the watercourses. These animals are competent swimmers and regularly take to the water.

Access information

Parking, toilets and refreshments are available at Broxbourne Old Mill and Meadows and it’s also a short walk from Broxbourne train station. The grass paths can get very muddy in wet weather but the viewing platform at the southern end of the site can be accessed from the surfaced towpath on the Lee Navigation in any weather.

 

Broxbourne Old Mill and Meadows

 

Broxbourne Old Mill and Meadows

This site is a mosaic of meadows intersected with a network of ditches and small wooded patches.

Walk through the meadows in spring and look out for the delicate flowers of Ragged Robin. The prehistoric looking Giant Horsetail forms impressive dense stands. Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail are often seen, especially around the old mill wheel and pool.

Access information

There is car parking and toilets and a surfaced circular walk around the meadows. A visit here can easily be combined with a trip to Silvermeade and Rusheymead. Refreshments are available in the car park.

 

Rusheymead

This site’s a patchwork of scrub woodland with pockets of open grassland and more mature woodland.

The scrub and woodland of Rusheymead is excellent for flocks of small birds. Bullfinch can be seen all year and in summer it’s a good spot for warblers. Sparrowhawk can often be glimpsed hunting amongst the trees.

The patches of grassland offer good feeding areas for the striking Green Woodpecker, which feed on ants and can be found throughout the year.

Access information

The nearest car park is opposite the Lee Valley Boat Centre on Old Nazeing Road, or at Broxbourne Old Mill and Meadows. There’s pedestrian access to the site from Old Nazeing Road or the Lee Navigation Towpath.

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