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NBNR  -  background and description

The Noak Bridge Nature Reserve consists of 20 acres of mixed grassland, scrub, developing woodland and small ponds stretching along the northern side of the A127 (Southend Road) with Noak Bridge village to the west. The main entrance is at the south end of Eastfield Road, off Wash Road, south of Barleylands (see map). It is easily accessible and provides the local community with a unique facility for peaceful recreation and education.

wild service tree leaf
Wild Service leaf
      Within this small reserve there are a number of distinct habitats. Open, grassy areas contrast with scrubby thickets and young woodland. Some large oak, ash, and cultivated fruit trees give an indication of its past history as an area of plotland carved from old woodland and hedgerow. The presence of the rare wild service tree also links it with this established, even ancient area, though unfortunately most of these were accidently cut down by contractors in 1995.

Butterflies and other insects thrive on the wide variety of flowers and grasses, and several species of dragonflies and damselflies can be found by the five permanent and two temporary ponds. An open drainage channel flows along the northern edge of the eastern side of the Reserve, and a ditch containing water most of the year crosses the Reserve north-south. There is also a small marshy area on the eastern edge. These wet places attract a wide range of creatures, from whirligig beetles swimming on the surface and frogs and newts in the depths, to jays and woodpeckers that come down to drink.
      woodland path

The grassland contains extensive areas of common plants, including fleabane, goat's rue, oxeye daisy, great willowherb and yellow rattle.

Willow Pond

      The ponds and damp ditches provide a suitable aquatic habitat for reedmace, yellow flag and greater spearwort. A varied aquatic invertebrate fauna flourishes in the ponds, and adds to the high invertebrate richness of the site. Great crested newts and grass snakes are also present.

Much of the site is predominantly scrub which provides nesting for birds such as blackcap, white throat, and chiffchaff. Most of the developing woodland on the site is oak with blackthorn, hawthorn and bramble mixed throughout, as well as a variety of more recently planted native species found at the southern end of the Reserve.

    early spring moss
The Noak Bridge Nature Reserve Society has installed bird nesting boxes and bat boxes in remote areas of the reserve and has taken an active role in developing and maintaining the Reserve and its facilities. There are two nature trails accommodating wheelchairs, and rustic seating is provided. Notice boards at both entrances provide information on the Society and details of Basildon Countryside Services events and local activities. New members are welcomed, and all households in the area are encouraged to join - see the membership section on the Society page for details. The Society also maintains an open discussion group on its Facebook page.

past rangers assigned to the Reserve

(Basildon District Council Countryside Services)

1999 - 2001
2001 - 2003
2004 - 2021

1999 - 2021
2016 - 2018

Steve Prewer
Luke Bennett
Liz Appleton
Paul Bown
Mark Williams

Gary Dawes (additional support)
Ashley Walmsley (additional support)

A restructuring of Basildon Countryside Services took place in Summer 2021 and the position of Ranger was discontinued.

newspaper articles and other media

BBC Essex Quest - 9 Jun 2019 - Facebook post re 2nd visit to the Reserve
interview with our volunteers
BBC Essex Quest - 31 Mar 2019 - Facebook post re 1st visit to the Reserve
interview with Tony Garner
(the images below open in a new window)

Yellow Advertiser - Feb 2016  -  Leafy oasis
Basildon Borough Diary - Sep 2015  -  Fantastic improvements
Basildon Echo - 22 Nov 2013  -  Work Party volunteers
Basildon Recorder - 2 Mar 2012  -  Memorial Seat for our Betty
Echo - 24 Feb 2012  -  Betty's Memorial Bench
Yellow Advertiser - 23 Feb 2012  -  Big clean up at nature reserve
Yellow Advertiser - 13 Jan 2011  -  Get back to nature
Gazette - 24 Nov 2010  -  11th-hour rescue
Gazette - 24 Nov 2010  -  New team... wildlife haven
Total Essex - 26 Sep 2008  -  Bee Chambers Work Party
Basildon Recorder - 29 Aug 2008  -  Bee Chambers Work Party
Bill Weekly News - 28 Aug 2008  -  Bee Chambers Work Party
Bas Evening Echo - 22 Aug 2008  -  Bee Chambers Work Party
Yellow Advertiser - 29 May 2008  -  Bee Chambers Work Party
Step Ahead - Aug 2004  -  Noak Bridge
Bill & Wickford Gaz - 15 Aug 2007  -  Crickets and Dragonflies Event
Pitsea Marshes Trust News - 1 Jul 2001  -  access trails
Yellow Advertiser - 7 Jun 2001  -  Open Day

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Thanks to John Pettitt for the photos on the right hand side of the page.
email contact - info@nbnrs.org.uk
last updated - 21 September 2023
URL - http://www.nbnrs.org.uk/about.html