Mill Meadows

        Mill Meadows, Billericay, is a 90-acre Local Nature Reserve containing one of the finest ancient meadow systems in Essex. Centuries of grazing have created the right conditions for a wonderful diversity of wild flowers and insects many of which are now rare in the County. The site is protected from development by green belt planning legislation and by a covenant lasting until the year 2070 restricting use to outdoor recreation and social activities. The Council has entered into a 10-year MAFF Countryside Stewardship Agreement controlling and supporting a strategy of management which aims to maintain and enhance the rural character and natural history of the meadows while still allowing visitors access for passive recreation. The re-introduction of cattle grazing each year between April and October, commenced in 1999 after an interval of 10 years, is regarded as an important step in restoration. Measures to remove and restrict the spread of scrub, and to control established woodland have started and further work is programmed.

        A Group of fields within the reserve, identified as being particularly rich in wildlife, have been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).