Know before you go
From the Stort Navigation towpath head north from Spellbrook Lane East and cross the canal using the footbridge to continue along the towpath. Look for the Wildlife Trust sign which marks the reserve entrance. It is approximately ½ mile from Spellbrook Lock to the reserve entrance. Stort Navigation towpath follows the station to station riverside trail (Sawbridgeworth to Bishop's Stortford).
Access via towpath and footbridge over Stort Navigation. Unsurfaced, uneven paths and steep slopes.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen all the time
Best time to visitApril to June, July to September
About the reserve
Thorley Wash was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1986 for its botanical interest associated with tall wash grassland habitat. Wildflowers present include ragged-robin, marsh marigold, fen bedstraw and meadowsweet. Water voles are flourishing here thanks to a successful reintroduction programme by the Trust in 2015. The wet habitats are great for a diverse range of wildlife including dragonflies, damselflies, birds and bats. Areas of long vegetation provide shelter for small mammals and reptiles.
Spring: Cuckoo, ragged robin, water vole, whitethroat.
Summer: Banded demoiselle, garden warbler, sedge warbler.
Autumn / Winter: Barn owl, snipe.
Site entrance: The reserve entrance is off of the Stort Navigation towpath. From Spellbrook Lane East, walk north along towpath and in 0.5 miles cross the white footbridge into the reserve.
Access by road: Head south on A1184 from Bishop’s Stortford. At Spellbrook turn left into Spellbrook Lane East, parking at pub on right hand side. Access to reserve over level crossing.
Access by public transport
Bus: 508, 509, 510 – Spellbrook Lane (0.7 miles).
Rail: Sawbridgeworth station (2 miles).