You can also follow us on Instagram too, our page is called @ironworksmeadowreserve


A Happy and Healthy 2024 to All.

We plan to continue the making good along the edge of the new meadow footpath and removing saplings and suckers in areas cleared of scrub and bramble last year. In addition, I would like to attempt some trial ‘management plots’ in the area of meadow that is rather devoid of any flora other than a few species of grass.
So please, in addition to the usual stout boots and gloves, please bring shovels, spades and rakes and secateurs and croppers.
A reminder will be sent next week together with a request for vehicles parking in Tesco car park.

We are winners! 

We have won the Maldon District Conservation Design Award for the best Nature Conservation 2023 for our cracking reserve.
This is a great achievement and it’s thanks to all of our donators, shareholders, directors and volunteers that have enabled us to achieve this award.
The pictures below show us collecting our award at the Methodist church.
Thank you.


Please note that the dates of the early 2024 work parties have changed and are now 14th January, 11th February and 25th February, all Sundays and all starting at 10am. Further details will be given nearer the time and reminders sent in the New Year.


After the end of March we will likely revert to smaller work parties to help keep the vegetation back off footpaths, albeit these are likely to be more regularly than every four weeks


have our next Work Party next 
Sunday 29th October at
I will confirm what we hope to be doing
during next week. In the meantime, I would be grateful if you could let me know
if you can attend and, should you be parking your vehicle in Tesco car park,
your vehicle registration. Many thanks.


Reminder – we have our first work party this Sunday, 1st
October at 10am – please see the pinned notice above. 

If you are
coming along a spade and shovel may also be useful…

Help! – our brush cutter/strimmer has packed up at a rather
inconvenient time – if anyone has one available that they can bring along,
please let me know.



We have our first work party of the autumn in a week’s time, on Sunday 1st October from 10am. 
main goal will be to pull out and cut back the regrowth of blackthorn,
bramble and rose where we cleared it last year, as well as to have a
quick litter pick. 
let me know if you are coming, so that I have an idea as to the number
of people turning up and, if you are going to park in Tesco’s car park, I
will need your vehicle registration. 
bring gloves and secateurs or similar with you, and kneelers may be
useful. Wear stout footwear as Blackthorn has unforgiving thorns!


It’s that time of year again! Work party dates
for the forthcoming autumn/winter/spring period are listed below. All
will start at 10am and further details will be posted nearer the time.
1st October
29th October
26th November
7th January
4th February
3rd March
the end of March we will likely revert to smaller work parties to help
keep the vegetation back off footpaths, albeit these are likely to be
more regularly than every four weeks.



Please note that
from Monday 11th September the footpath and bridge through the Reserve
will be closed for 2-3 weeks whilst work to complete the footpath
across the meadow are in progress. 


We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. 
The Directors.

29th May 2023

The next three mini-work parties will be on 31st May, 14th and 28th June. Cutting back vegetation and litter picking will be the order of the day. Please let us know if you wish to help on any of these days. Thank you.

Email us on or via the facebook page:

May 22nd 2023

Six Marsh Sow Thistles
were planted put on the Reserve today. The species is very rare in
Essex and we are pleased to be able to help with this re-introduction.
The stock for these originate from the Medway, Kent.
They become very tall plants with yellow dandelion-like flowers so should become visible above the Common Reed in due course.

17th May 2023

We had a low key work party on the Reserve (we are adopting the name Ironworks Meadow going forward) this morning, 17th May, for which I would like to thank Dave Webb, Maisie Pearson, William, Kai, Becca and Calli for their help. We carried out some litter picking and cut back where the rapidly developing vegetation was threatening to grow across footpaths, something which will be a constant battle over the summer with such a damp spring. Patrick Ellum was also carrying out some strimming.

The trouble with management work on the Reserve at this time of year is the distractions! A brightly coloured metallic weevil in the Blackthorn turned out to be Rhyncites auratus at only its fifth* UK site (all in Essex just north of the Blackwater estuary). We also found the much commoner Cantharis rustica plus a couple of other beetles not yet identified.

As well as Red and Black Froghopper Cercopis vulnerata the only other bug we say was Bishop’s Mitre Bug Aelia acuminata.

We also saw a couple of fairly freshly emerged Scarce Chaser dragonfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly but they were rather too quick for the camera…

Butterflies were thin on the ground, with the odd Orange-tip, a Peacock and a couple of Holly Blue all that was seen whilst a couple of moths were noted, Sharp-winged Drill Dicrorampha acuminatana and Hedge Tortrix Isotrias rectifasciana..

Flowers are responding to the clearing of the west end, with a profusion of Field Forget-me-knot, as well as a few Changing Forget-me-not, Spotted Medick, Corn Salad, Greater Stitchwort and Common Vetch to name but a very few.

And not forgetting the birds, 3-4 Reed Warbler a couple of Whitethroat, a Cetti’s Warbler and a Reed Bunting were singing from the reed bed, whilst probably four Song Thrush were singing from various points around the Reserve. Finally, a Kestrel was noted sitting on the wires crossing the site devouring a vole of some sort.

*subject to confirmation

April 18th 2023

Saturday morning saw several of us take a short canoe trip into the Victorian brick culvert that passes under what is now the Maldon bypass, but was original the railways line. The reason for the visit was to check the culvert for the possible presence of bats and to check depths of water and silt within the tunnel.
The brickwork is in very good condition and the lack of any nooks and crannies for bats means that it is highly unlikely that they have used the tunnel at any time, indeed there were no signs of them, although it is not impossible that the odd bat may pay a visit.
Both silt and water depths were successfully measured. There ws little sign of any other wildlie apart from a few House Spiders and several egg sacs. I am reliably informed that the stirred up silt stank! (I have no sense of smell…sometimes it is an advantage!).
Video and photos attached – thinks Chuckle Brothers but on water!!! I look worried!

April 12th 2023

With the spring/summer here and the potential for birds to be breeding, we must stop our full-scale work party meetings. The only works we can carry out during the coming months will be to clear vegetation back from paths, remove suckers and saplings from areas that have been cleared of vegetation and carry out litter picking.
I have been watching the speed of vegetation growth and given that it has been a rather cool spring so far, nothing is really siginficantly advanced to merit any work yet and thankfully litter has so far been minimal.
I therefore propose to start small work parties comprising no more than 3-4 people, on the Wednesday mornings from 09:30 for 2-3 hours with the first three on 3rd, 17th and 31st May.
Please let me know if you would like to help on any of those dates…

April the 8th 2023

Enjoyable morning yesterday with Patrick Ellum and Simon Wood meeting the Essex Wildlife Trust’s Wilder Communities team and taking them round the reserve. And for once the sun shone!
Great to see lots of blossom out. Other signs of spring included a Peacock Butterfly, Common Carder Bees, a Dark-edged Bee-fly and some Spring Fieldcap mushrooms (beside the bridge).
Amongst the birdsong we heard Chiffchaff and Cetti’s Warbler and we also heard the first Blackcap of the year. Buzzard and Sparrowhawk were displaying overhead.
With the recent arrival of our Kestrel nest box it was encouraging to see both male and female Kestrels around the reserve. Lets hope they pair up!
May be an image of 4 people, people standing and outdoors

November 28th 2022

REMINDER The next Working Party will
be on Sunday 4th December, at 10am. We will be completing removal of
scrub from the west end of the Reserve to allow the grassland to
recover, as well as from the northern slope of the borrowdyke and litter
usual, I will require your car registration number, should you be
parking in Tesco car-park, by no later than the evening of 3rd December.
wear stout, waterproof footwear and bring thick gloves and if you have
them, lopper and bow saw. The CIC has a small number of loppers and bows
saws for use on the day.

October 30th 2022

We had a lovely working party along today and did some very good work, clearing the shrub and thorn bushes along the dyke along the side of the reserve.  This will become a wildlife haven.

Video of the wildlife haven clearance

Exclusive video of a walk on the new walkway is here

More details on the next working party will follow shortly.



October 15th 2022

Dear All,

We are pleased to report that work on the walkways and
bridge is starting next week and is expected to take 2-3 weeks. So don’t be
alarmed to see some heavy machinery at the Tesco end of the Reserve.

 This is a significant step in the plans for the
Reserve and thanks to all for the support we have received to enable us to
achieve this.


Jonathan Wood

Company Secretary



October 10th 2022

We have sent out the latest share holders newsletter with all the updates since January, and there have been a lot! Please check your emails for the newsletter.  To become a shareholder, visit this page.

These new signs have also been erected on the site and is shown above – sorry for the low resolution picture, we will update it soon.

We have also posted the newest working party update as well which will be on Sunday 30th October 2022 at 10.00am. More
details will follow in due course.  Watch the facebook page for more information.

2nd October 2022 –

Thanks to everyone who came along and helped at the first Work Party of the season yesterday. Further careful removal of Blackthorn and Bramble, that has been taking over the areas of grassland, took place and we certainly made an impression. Blackthorn saplings will continue to try and regrow so controlling this going forward will be a regular management item.

Whislt carrying out the work we had a couple of Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel overhead whilst a couple of House Martin and six Swallow were a reminder that summer is just about clinging on – it was a glorious day. In the reed bed there was a Cetti’s Warbler and a Blackcap whilst early on an enthusiastic Chiffchaff was signing. A Kingfisher was also seen as the last attendees left late afternoon. A Southern Oak Bush-cricket was found during the morning. This is a relatively new arrival in the south of England, first being noted in 2001. This is one of a small handful noted around Maldon

Early reminder. The next work party will take place on Sunday 30th October 2022 at 10.00am.

January 2022

January 27th 2022

Well, it’s a massive day for the CIC. Today, we finally completed and are now the full custodians of the Chelmer Blackwater Reserve!

This is a massive achievement and I must thank the entire directorship, especially Patrick, for the hard work that has gone on for the last year. Full report to follow.



January 8th 2022

We have signed the lease!


Dear All
We wish you all a very Happy New Year.
It’s been a while since you recieved any updates so I thought I would tell you our fantastic news. It’s been a long time spent negotiating with Tesco’s but I am delighted to say the lease is now SIGNED! We are the official custodians of the nature reserve!
Here is the official signing picture with some of the directors.
We also applied and were successful in gaining a £10,000 grant from Essex County Council for community projects and we have some big plans for the reserve which will be shared with you in due course.
I will upload a full update in the coming weeks and those voluntary offers will soon be coming to fruition!
Stay safe and well everyone.
The CIC directors


19th March 2022 Maldon District Council Social
Enterprise Accelerator Programme has generously approved our submission for a
grant for boardwalks and nature signage.

13th April 2022 The Essex Birdwatching Society
has generously offered to fund a viewing platform on the site

14th April 2022 The Botany Group carried out a
survey of the site


Welcome to the Chelmer Blackwater Reserve website. This land has been saved from development and our non-profit community interest company aims to manage and improve it as a wildlife reserve with public access.

The site, known locally as the Ironworks Meadow, has historical significance to Maldon and parts have been undisturbed for decades, making it a perfect location for the creation of  a nature reserve.  A great variety of species of birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals frequent the site, as well as many invertebrates.

We have some grand plans for the site over the coming years and require YOUR help. We are looking for volunteers to help on work days and with management roles as well as financial support from both businesses and individuals.

Access to the land will be provided to the public but above all it will be managed as a nature reserve.

Thankyou for visiting our page.

For donations, please visit this link where all information is supplied:



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