Bull Meadow Local Nature Reserve was declared a Local Nature Reserve in 1994 - one of the first to be opened in Colchester.
How to get there
Walk / cycle: There are two pedestrian entrances to the site on the path between Leisure World and Castle Park. Colchester by bike map
By Road: Parking: No official parking area is provided for the site, parking is available at Leisure World.
All day, every day.
Facilities and access
History, vegetation and wildlife
The site consists of 1.4ha (3. 5 acres) of an unimproved damp meadow on the north bank of the River Colne that was once grazed marshland. Nowadays the dry areas are dominated by great willowherb, creeping thistle, hogweed and stinging nettles. Dragonflies and damselflies forage amongst the tall vegetation in the summer. Plants, more typical of damp meadows, include purple loosestrife, amphibious bistort, gypsywort and soft rush. Old ditches run through the meadow and though silted up contain water through the early spring. Associated wetter areas support larger patches of loosestrife, cuckoo flower, reed, skullcap and marsh woundwort. In the centre of the meadow is an area rich in sedges with greater and lesser pond sedge, and hairy sedge dominant. Warblers use the meadow for nesting and feeding, and it is important for invertebrates including many species of spiders and butterflies.
The meadow is managed by mechanically cutting and removing the arisings in September/October. This ensures that the flower species are not cut until they have set seed but the coarser growth of nettle, bramble and scrub is controlled preventing them from dominating the site.