29. Sawbridgeworth Marsh Nature Reserve
Theme: Habitats and wildlife
- To maintain and enhance the river's natural habitats and wildlife
Sawbridgeworth Marsh nature reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest lying alongside the River Stort and Stort Navigation.
It has a variety of wetland habitats including wet woodland, tall sedge and reed beds, and floodplain meadows containing rare plants such as the Southern Marsh Orchid.
The reserve is also home to a population of Water Voles, one of the UK's rarest mammals, that were introduced as part of an earlier re-introduction project.
The habitats found in the reserve are an important part of the wider Stort Valley landscape - an area of interconnected wetlands and floodplains creating a valuable Living Landscape.
An annual programme of management activities such as scrub control, willow pollarding and vegetation clearance, help maintain open ditches, ponds and waterways crossing the site which are important for water voles. Meadow management also keeps the grassland in top condition for wildflowers to thrive.
Essex Wildlife Trust run weekly volunteer work parties to help with the management of the site. These are led by the site's Volunteer Warden and Stort Living River Champion.
For more information about volunteering please visit Essex Wildlife Trust website or contact Bob Reed, Volunteer Warden.