Daws Hall Gardens and Nature Reserve 4948

Bures, England, Essex, Colchester

Brief Description

Daws Hall has ornamental gardens of 2 hectares within a 10 hectare nature reserve. Among the many plants featured are over 100 varieties of shrub roses, 80 clematis varieties, a wildflower meadow and numerous specimen trees. The reserve is managed by the Daws Hall Trust and the Education Centre in the old stable block is managed and funded by Essex County Council. The Nature Reserve is open for school groups by appointment only. The private gardens around Daws Hall are open during October and Novemebr for groups and RHS members only by appointment.


The gardens and nature reserve were created in the 1960's, although the Hall itself dates back to around 1530. The first section to be created was a wildfowl farm. Many rare trees were planted in the 1960's which produce a spectacular autumn display. A wildflower meadow was created in the 1980's.


Sloping down to the River Stour.

Detailed Description

The grounds of Daws Hall and the adjoining Nature Reserve are divided into a number of distinct areas.

The Sanctuary, which is still privately owned, contains three ponds which are home to some 20 varieties of waterfowl. There are also many specimen trees and a collection of shrub roses.

The Scrape is a lagoon area, home to many wild plants and migrating waders.

The Old Orchard Meadow is an area of wildflower meadow, sown between 1986 and 1989, with over 100 species of wild plants recorded. Yellow Rattle Meadow also supports a wide variety of wild flowers, including yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor).

Lamarsh hill wood was planted with a mixture of oak, beech and Sots pine in 1966. The aim is to recreate an ancient woodland. Chestnut Coppice was planted with sweet chestnut, hazel and ash for coppicing.

The Pittmire plantation is planted with willows, Salix alba var. caerulea, used for making cricket bats.

  • Rose Garden
  • Description: Over 100 varieties of shrub roses.
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  • Plantation
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  • Stable Block
  • Description: Stable block of the old Hall, dating from around 1530, has now been converted into a field study centre.
  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: Cedar of Lebanon planted around 1650.
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  • Hall (featured building)
  • Description: Daws Hall itself dates to around 1530, although it is on the site of an earlier 14th century hall.
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Civil Parish

  • Mount Bures

Detailed History

Daws Hall itself was built around 1530, on the site of an earlier 14th century hall. Little remains of earlier gardens on the site apart from some old specimen trees. These include a Cedar of Lebanon which dates to around 1650; a Sweet Gum Liquidambar styraciflua 'Worplesdon'; Prunus x yedoensis 'Ivensii' and golden fruited Rowan.

In the 1960's the new owner, Major Iain Grahame, started a program of developing new gardens covering some 2 hectares. In the rest of the grounds he developed what is now the Daws Hall Nature Reserve, starting with a wildfowl garden. Later areas developed include two areas of woodland and wildflower meadows.

More recently the Daws Hall Trust was created to manage the Nature Reserve and the old stables were converted into a field study centre owned and managed by Essex County Council.

Associated People