Hanningfield Reservoir is celebrating 60 years of supplying drinking water to a large part of Essex, as well as being a top destination for nature and wildlife lovers, this September.

Located between Chelmsford and Billericay, the reservoir is managed by Essex & Suffolk Water, which treats up to 225 million litres of water from it each day at the Hanningfield treatment works.

Hanningfield Reservoir is also home to a stunning nature reserve operated by Essex Wildlife Trust. Thousands of visitors come to Hanningfield each year to enjoy a great day out in a beautiful landscape, taking in views of some wonderful nature and wildlife.

John Devall, Water Director at Essex & Suffolk Water said: “As well as providing top quality drinking water for 60 years, Hanningfield Reservoir has become an important landmark in the Essex countryside, and a fantastic leisure facility for the area.

“We are incredibly proud of our long-standing partnership with Essex Wildlife Trust here, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them in future.”

Andrew Impey, CEO of Essex Wildlife Trust, said: “Our close partnership with Essex & Suffolk Water is hugely important to Essex Wildlife Trust – none more so than at our Hanningfield Reservoir visitor centre and nature reserve, where every year we welcome thousands of visitors to enjoy this beautiful part of Essex. It is a fantastic place to see wildlife, especially birds, bats and bluebells.”

To mark the 60th anniversary Essex & Suffolk Water hosted two public tours of the water treatment works site on Thursaday 7 September, which took place as part of Chelmsford Heritage Open Days. The tours gave visitors a rare insight into the journey and processes that take water from the reservoir to our taps.

The treatment works have also hosted Hollywood royalty in recent years, with Brad Pitt filming for the blockbuster ‘World War Z’ in 2011 and Tom Cruise shooting scenes for ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ in 2013.

The Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserve at Hanningfield offers shoreline and woodland walks that link to the popular visitor centre and café. The site is renowned for its nationally important populations of wildfowl, and has four bird watching hides where visitors can catch a glimpse of a gadwall, tufted duck of woodpecker.

The nature reserve was first set up in 1992, and the visitor centre was opened in 2000.

Hanningfield Reservoir is also one of the premier fisheries in the UK, providing some of the best reservoir trout fishing by either bank or boat. Last season more than 14,000 anglers visited the site, and with 38 boats available for use there is still time to give it a try before the current season closes on 31 October.

Hanningfield Reservoir facts –

• The reservoir was built by the South Essex and Southend Waterworks companies, with work starting in 1951. The main contractors were W & C French

• It took five years to build and 200 days to fill, and was officially opened by Henry Brooke, Minister for Housing & Local Government, on 19 September 1957

• One earth moving machine was left in the reservoir and covered in concrete

• The length of the perimeter is approximately 6 miles

• At 100% the reservoir storage is 26075 million litres, the equivalent of 10,430 Olympic-sized swimming pools

• When full, the reservoir has 200 continuous days’ storage.

• Water is pumped nine miles from the rivers Blackwater and Chelmer to fill the reservoir.

• There are four woods around the reservoir – Chesnut, Peninsula, Well and Hawkswood.

For more information please contact Michael Page on 01268 664862.