Wat Tyler Country Park
Although Wat Tyler covers only a relatively modest 125 acres, it includes a huge diversity of animal habitats and rare and important species, making it a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and one of the most important wildlife sites in Essex.
Just take a walk down the side of the creek, or through the wooded areas of the park and you’ll see for yourself. Take the kids birdspotting or join one of our pond dipping trips and get back in touch with nature.
Opening times, entry costs, facilities and directions
Things to see
Head South from the Wat Tyler centre along the single road towards the park’s Southern limit: the marina car park. Ephemeral ponds on the right have southern migrant hawkers, migrant hawkers, black tailed skimmers, common and ruddy darters and damselflies. Near the ephemeral ponds, on the other side the road, a short reed-bed boardwalk is also worth checking. A larger pond is found further South by the marina car park. Southern migrant hawkers have regularly visited this pond as well as more common species.
Six Education Team ponds just next to the Wat Tyler Centre are generally closed to the public to protect them from unsupervised pond dipping, but regular guided pond dipping sessions occur in public holidays and groups are welcome to book specific pond dipping sessions too. We regularly catch damselfly, darter and chaser nymphs, but hawker nymphs are not uncommon. Contact Wat Tyler’s Education Team for booking details.
The park’s walkways away from the ponds can also yield good species. The perimeter path is flanked by saltmarsh and hedgerows, and even a woodland path once yielded a Willow Emerald Damselfly.
Small migratory species that has only recently started breeding in the UK.
Main flight period is June to September.
The males stay attached to the females ‘in tandem’ during egg laying
Images by Tim Careon
Spring: Hairy Dragonflies appear first, followed by chasers and skimmers at our ephemeral ponds.
Summer: Emeralds, hawkers and darters appear.
Autumn: Hawkers and darters hang around into the later months. Watch the darters’ colours fade with age.
Images by Paul Ritchie
Contact UsWat Tyler Country Park, Pitsea Hall Lane, Pitsea, Basildon, Essex, SS16 4UH
T: 01268 208090
Species Flight Periods