An atmospheric hammer pond and holding pond, the open water of Burton Mill Pond makes up part of the larger Burton Mill and Chingford Ponds Local Nature Reserve (LNR). The Mill Pond has a variety of dragonflies, beetles, and other rare invertebrates. Bird highlights include bitterns, warblers, and wildfowl.
Burton Mill Pond is also part of Burton Park Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designated nationally important for its wetland habitats, rare plants, birdlife, and invertebrate populations. Chingford Pond is designated a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI).
The serene open water is dotted with yellow water lilies and fringed with reedbeds used by wintering bitterns and nesting Reed Warblers. This is the only place in Sussex where Cowbane, a rare member of the carrot plant family, is found. The pond is also bordered by carr woodland, where alder and willow trees thrive on the wet ground. Woodcock breed here and other birds attracted to the open water and surrounding habitats include Gadwall, Teal, Great Crested and Little Grebes and Kingfisher.
At Burton Mill
A circular nature trail, about 3 miles long, leads through a fascinating range of habitats. The car park is a good starting point. The trail is on level ground, along surfaced and unsurfaced footpaths, minor roads and a boardwalk over the wettest areas.
The Serpent Trail can also be accessed from Burton Mill Pond via public rights of way.
Please remember to admire these wetland habitats from the footpaths, to avoid damaging the delicate plant community on this soft damp ground which is so vulnerable to trampling.
An Easy Access Trail suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, about 400m long, follows part of the waterside nature trail. There are some moderate slopes and some sections can get muddy.
Fishing at Burton Mill Pond is managed by the Sussex Piscatorial Society and is by membership or day ticket only. An annual closed season operates between 15 March and 15 June inclusively. Please use The Sussex Piscatorial Society website for further details.
There are no toilets or refreshments available at the site, however, local pubs nearby include The Cricketers (2.1 miles) and The White Horse Inn (2 miles).
In Elizabethan times this area had a huge iron-making industry. Local blast furnaces produced brittle cast iron which needed converting into a more durable form. The streams at Burton were dammed, forming a ‘hammer pond’ to feed the water wheel of a forge. The water wheel could power bellows and huge mechanical hammers to pound iron with up to 150 blows a minute, turning it into short thick bars, called anconies.
In the 1780s the pond's water power was put to a new use - grinding corns in the water mill (now a private residence), which is seen here today.