Take a stroll alongside the ornamental lakes and try to spot all the diverse species that call this area of the Estate home.


There were originally three lakes, which are rumoured to have been dug by Roundhead troops camped at Markshall Estate whilst under the command of Sir Thomas Honywood, Commander of the Essex Militia, during the Siege of Colchester in 1648.

These have since been modified to the two ornamental lakes that you see today. Separated by a dam, the lakes are fed by Robins Brook, which runs through the Arboretum, down cascades, over weirs, and under an ornate Iron Bridge constructed by Filmer Honywood in the early 19th century.


The lakes have a thriving population of freshwater mussels along with roach and carp. Next to the lower lake is an original nuttery containing Cob Nut trees. This area is now filled with spring flowers such as snowdrops, species of daffodils, cowslips and other wild flowers.

The Birkett Long Millennium Walk

The upper lake forms the fourth boundary to the Walled Garden. Along the opposite bank is the Millennium Walk, designed and planted in 1999. The striking design was created by landscape designer and former Trustee Peter Thurman to give colour, shape and beguiling scent throughout the autumn and winter months. On crisp still winter days, the bright red stems of dogwood and the glistening trunks of Himalayan birch trees provide enchanting reflections in the upper lake. The flowers of the Hamamelis (Witch Hazel) give a delicious scent along with the rich, sweetly perfumed and glossy leaved Sarcococca (Christmas Box). The flowers open in late winter and are very fragrant.


If you are planning a visit to Markshall Estate make sure you pick up your free fish food at admissions. Feeding the hungry fish in the Lakes is a must when visiting the Arboretum!

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