Salary Brook Local Nature Reserve

This river valley corridor covering 48 acres constitutes an important urban wildlife area and comprises a wealth of habitats.


  • How to get there
  • Opening times
  • Facilities and access
  • History, vegetation and wildlife

This river valley corridor covering 48 acres constitutes an important urban wildlife area and comprises a wealth of habitats including pasture, grassland, marsh, fishing ponds and the brook itself which runs the entire length of the reserve.

Salary Brook site information (PDF, 8.94MB)


How to get there

By road: Salary Brook open space lies on the eastern edge of Greenstead. There are pedestrian entrances from Scarfe Way, Sherbourne Road, Titaina Close and Sandpiper Close. There is no formal car park. Limited roadside parking maybe available. Postcode CO4 3SE. Find on the map.

By cycle: Colchester by bike map

Opening times

All day, every day.

Facilities and access

  • There is one public right of way that runs east-west through the site linking Greenstead with the farmland to the west. The remainder of the site has free and open access to visitors.
  • The three ponds, constructed during the 1970s, are fished all through the year.
  • One pond has disabled access
  • Occasional guided walks and events
  • Benches and picnic tables

History, vegetation and wildlife

The majority of Salary Brook open space is designated a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). The site comprises rough grassland, scattered scrub, broadleaved woodland and emergent vegetation on the western side of the river. Marshy and wet grassland flora dominate the eastern areas. The drier parts of the brooks open space have probably been used for extensive grazing for many centuries and, therefore, retain areas of historic semi- natural vegetation.

Salary Brook retains a distinctive community of plants and animals, many of which are associated with wetlands. The wealth of wildlife includes species not often encountered in the urban area including nightingale, reed warbler, lizard, water vole and four species of bat, including pipistrelle.

At the heart of the site lies Berrimans pasture, home to over one hundred plant species, including many characteristic of damp unimproved grasslands. These include lady's smock, sneezewort, common sedge and devilsbit scabious. The latter three are all scarce in Essex.

The site is of significant natural interest and of great value in the Borough as a place for informal recreation and learning opportunities.

Our work

During the late summer 50% of Berrimans pasture (a large wildflower meadow) is cut and cleared in order to keep scrub under control and allow wildflowers to seed.

The many areas of amenity grassland are cut on a regular basis. The cycle route which runs the entire length of the site is kept cut back and weed free. Footpaths are kept clear and hard surfaced pathways and hedgerows maintained. Both the Volunteer Ranger group and a group of volunteers from Essex University regularly work at the site and are integral in sustaining its upkeep.

The site is regularly litter picked and a Spring Tidy is held once a year in conjunction with the local community.

Salary Brook Action Plan of works 2022-23

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