Hanningfield Reservoir

Hanningfield Reservoir, set within a picturesque part of Essex, is open for visitors to enjoy a great day out in a beautiful landscape.

From fishing, walking or watching the amazing wildlife to having a relaxing picnic or enjoying a meal at our Café on the Water, there is something for all the family. Renowned for its nationally important populations of wildfowl, the reservoir is a wonderful haven for nature and wildlife. With four bird watching hides you are certain to catch a glimpse of a gadwall, tufted duck or woodpecker.

There is a stunning route through the Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserve which runs along the shoreline and into the woods and leads to the wildlife trusts visitor centre. For more information visit www.essexwt.org.uk.

Please be aware, in order to protect the local wildlife dogs are not permitted at this site, except guide dogs.


Hanningfield Reservoir provides good access and surfaces for people of all mobile capabilities including wheelchair access, hard surfaced walks and fishing platforms. Our visitor centre is located close to the car park and is easily accessible for wheelchair users.

Also, our team of helpful rangers are always willing and able to offer help and aid access in difficult conditions or circumstances. It is the team’s ambition to offer a great day out and experience for all our visitors.

Visit the pages on our site to discover more about what you can explore at Hanningfield Reservoir.


With temperatures continuing to rise and summer holidays on the horizon, we want to remind everyone that they should never attempt to swim in our reservoirs, as there are very serious dangers hidden below the surface.

These hidden dangers can include machinery, extremely cold water, unknown depths and strong underwater currents. This is why we operate a ‘no unauthorised swimming’ policy at Hanningfield and Abberton Reservoir.

Water is pumped from these reservoirs through to the water supply chain so even the strongest of swimmers can get into serious difficulty.

Cold water shock is another very serious safety concern, as it can kill in less than a minute. Even when the sun is out and the weather is hot, the water underneath the surface can be really cold as the heat of the sun cannot reach it.

Don Coe, Essex & Suffolk Water’s Waterside Parks operations manager, said: “We want people get out and enjoy the good weather, but not at the expense of their own safety and that of their friends and family.

“There is always the temptation to have fun wherever there is water, but please be aware that reservoirs contain a number of hidden dangers, which make them unsuitable for swimming or paddling.

"People are also often not as aware as they should be of issues such as cold water shock. This can prove fatal as people′s bodies react to the temperature change and they lose their ability to respond and save their own lives."

We offer the following advice to help people stay safe around water:

• Take notice of any safety advice or warning signs, such as, no swimming signs, a red flag or “danger deep water” signs
• Always accompany children. Stay close to the group you are with and stay in sight at all times
• Never go near water if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs – this is the number one cause of water-related deaths
• Stay clear of strong currents, weirs, rapids and reservoir edges
• Watch out for slippery banks, soft sand and rocks
• Messing around can be dangerous - don’t splash water at other people or push them over.
• Never go deeper than welly height when playing in rivers as the strong current can easily knock you over.
• Cover any cuts and scratches with water proof plasters. Weil’s Disease can be caught from rat urine
• Learn to swim - it could save your life.

For more information on staying safe around water see - www.eswater.co.uk/your-home/learn-about-water/water-safety.aspx

Downloadable content

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    Cafe on the water

    Hanningfield Waterside Park - Sample menu.



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