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Lexden Park Local Nature Reserve

Lexden Park LNR at seven hectares is a relatively small reserve, which is a haven for walkers and lovers of fauna and flora.

HOW TO GET THERE

By road: Small car park located off Church Lane, Colchester, CO3 3SZ, a height barrier restricts access to vehicles under 2 metre in height. Find on the map.

By cycle:pdf icon Colchester by bike map [3Mb]

OPENING TIMES

All day, every day

FACILITIES AND ACCESS

  • There is public access throughout the reserve.It can be accessed from two entry points along Church Lane and from Endsleigh Meadow (another open green space run by Colchester Borough Council).
  • The footpaths around the meadow are flat and grassy (mown throughout the season). The paths in the wooded areas can be more challenging as they are steep in parts (with 3 sets of steps that are unsuitable for wheel chair users). Tree roots can provide trip hazards for the unwary.
  • There is a small section of boardwalk but these footpaths are muddy during the winter and sustained periods of wet weather.
  • There are a number of benches located around the lower meadow with picnic tables near the car park.
  • Fishing, swimming and boating are not allowed on the lake and owners should keep dogs out of the lake
  • Visitors are not allowed to enter private woodland or the Council's wildlife refuge area. They are closed to protect wildlife and Lexden Dyke earthworks, which are classified a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

HISTORY, VEGETATION AND WILDLIFE

The lower part of the reserve (running alongside Church Lane) is mainly a species rich grassland meadow. The area is flat and rectangular in shape giving a clue to its previous use as football pitches for Endsleigh Institute up until the early 1970s.

The meadow contains lady's bedstraw, lesser stitchwort, knapweed and greater birdsfoot trefoil. The ornamental lake is spring fed and is surrounded by trees and shrubs that shade the banks, the small island and inaccessible banks are popular with wildfowl, mainly mallards, coots and moorhens.

The (illegal) introduction of coy carp has led to a reduction of amphibians and invertebrate so a small submerged wildlife retreat has been created. The area is fenced off to stop dogs gaining access, and surrounded by stones which stop fish getting gaining access. It is hoped that it will prove to be a haven for amphibians.

The remainder of the reserve comprises of woodland, oak is the dominant species with some a few hundred years old. Silver birch thrives in the area as does beech, rowan, and sycamore. Horse and sweet chestnut along with lime and pines were introduced many years ago. The understory is mainly holly, hawthorn and bramble. The wooded area puts on a vibrant blue bells display during April and May each year.

OUR WORK

Occasional guided walks and children's activities.

Creeping thistle, and dock have to be kept under control. The meadow is cut on a rotational basis, 50% cut and removed from site each year.

Two stag beetle pyramids were created from the timber created from tree felling on the 'successional woodland edge',

Once a year the boat is taken out onto the lake to check and clear the out flow pipe, to check and maintain the fencing on the island to discourage geese nesting and to remove any floating litter.