Tucked away on the Essex and Suffolk border, Daws Hall nature reserve is a real hidden gem - just ask its thousands of young visitors.

The 25 acre site in Lamarsh boasts about 100 different species of wildflowers, four acres of unspoiled woodland, a number of ponds and even its own island.

It is home to an abundance of wildlife, as well as 16 Red-breasted geese - a rare and endangered breed originating from Russia.

The reserve first began being used as an environmental education centre for schoolchildren 28 years ago and has since become a charity, managed by the Daws Hall Trust.

It was previously supported and funded by Essex County Council, but the authority’s involvement ceased in 2010, leaving trustees with a difficult decision to make.

But trustees were determined not to give up and now rely on grants, include one from the council, private donations, open days and the small amount of revenue generated by the school visits to help keep it going.

The latest open days take place tomorrow and Sunday, with the gardens open from 12noon until 4pm.

Further open days are scheduled for May 18, June 15 and 22, and July 13.

Entry is £5 for adults and £1 for children over five.

See the Gazette for the full story and pictures