Abberton Reservoir

Essex  >  United Kingdom

A man made reservoir with access from public roads. Good for aquatic birds. Large numbers use this during migration, as it is not far from the coast.

Added* by Richard Moss
Most recent update 19 September 2022


Abberton reservoir is one of the most important places for wildfowl in Britain. It is the fourth largest reservoir in England with an area of nearly 5 square kilometres (1,200 acres). Due to its location near the East coast fly-way more then 280 bird species have been seen here. It is also a protected Ramsar Site. There is a visitor centre, or if preferred, the area can be viewed from 2 causeways which cross the reservoir with public roads, so it is accessible at all times. Many waterbirds and waders can be seen here like Northern Pintail, Ruff, Garganey, Smew, Goosander, Black-tailed Godwit, Water Rail, Great Bittern, Western Marsh Harrier and many more.



Visitor signs are around the local area. There are visiting times if entering the reserve proper, or the causeways, which are public roads are always open. There is parking at the road side. If parking here, there are solid, flat footpaths. If you want to explore Abberton Reservoir by foot, you can walk some nice trails around the visitor centre.

Another way to explore the reservoir is by bicycle. On the map you find a circular cycle ride of 10 miles (16 km). It follows quiet roads and country lanes. Habitats seen include open water, reedbed, scrapes and lagoons, rough grassland, wood, scrub, pasture and arable farmland. The cycle route starts at the visitor centre. Note: After heavy rains, part of the route can be very muddy and not suitable for cycling, so only start cycling this route in dry weather conditions.

Terrain and Habitat

Scattered trees and bushes , Wetland , Grassland , Lake , Reedbeds , Agriculture , Forest


Flat , Open landscape

Circular trail


Is a telescope useful?


Good birding season

All year round

Best time to visit

Spring migration , Autumn migration


Paved road , Unpaved road , Wide path

Difficulty walking trail


Accessible by

Foot , Bicycle , Car

Birdwatching hide / platform


View other birding spots in the area that are published on Birdingplaces


Top 5 birds

Other birds you can see here

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