Nine Essex Wildlife Trust visitor centres have signed up to become Refill stations, which means people can stay topped up with tap water while they enjoy some stunning nature, wildlife and scenery – perfect for exploring this half-term!

Refill is a national campaign led by plastic pollution campaign group City to Sea which aims to provide a network of cafes, shops, hotels and other businesses that will refill reusable water bottles for free – reducing our reliance on single use plastics.

Essex & Suffolk Water is working in partnership with the Essex Waste Partnership to deliver the Refill Essex scheme, alongside local volunteer groups and organisations.

Participating businesses can register on the Refill app and display a sticker in their window to show that they offer free tap water. The app also allows users to locate their nearest Refill station, so all they need to do is remember to carry a reusable bottle to stay topped up on the move.

The nine Essex Wildlife Trust visitor centres that are now Refill stations are –

  • Abberton Reservoir
  • Bedford’s Park
  • Belfair’s Woodland Centre
  • Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve
  • Hanningfield Reservoir
  • Ingrebourne Valley
  • The Naze Centre
  • Thurrock Thameside Nature Park
  • Thorndon Country Park


Eliane Algaard, Water Director for Essex & Suffolk Water said: “We have a long standing partnership with Essex Wildlife Trust through our joint working at Hanningfield and Abberton Reservoirs, so it’s great to see these and seven other visitor centres signed up as Refill stations.

“It really is easy to get involved and help to reduce plastic pollution – just download the Refill app today, take your reusable bottle with you and start topping up on the go!”

Andrew Impey Chief Executive of Essex Wildlife Trust said: “We are very happy to be working alongside Essex & Suffolk Water and supporting the Refill campaign at our visitor centres.

It’s one of the many ways that we’re encouraging people to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic bottles, which is such a pressing environmental issue. We are looking forward to greeting everyone with their re-usable bottles at the ready!”


In addition to Thorndon, the following Essex country parks now also offer Refill stations –

  • Cressing Temple Barns
  • Weald Country Park
  • Belhus Wood
  • Cudmore Grove

Local Refill schemes have already been launched in Brentwood, Chelmsford and Southend, with local volunteers working to spread the word and recruit Refill stations. Any individuals and community groups that would like to launch Refill schemes in their own local areas are encouraged to get involved.

The Refill app can be downloaded on smart phones and tablets, while more information about the campaign is available at Individuals or community groups that would like to get involved in Refill can find out more by emailing

Anyone looking to really put their endurance to the test this year is encouraged to sign up for the Hanningfield Triathlon – a gruelling race which takes place across water bike and foot.

Entry for the Hanningfield Triathlon – which takes place in the beautiful surroundings of Hanningfield Reservoir – is open now. The event is organised by Essex & Suffolk Water in support of the charity WaterAid, which is helping to bring clean drinking water, safe sanitation and hygiene education to people around the world.

This year’s event will take place on Saturday 18 May, and participants can choose between sprint or standard distance, or team up with friends or family to form a relay team and compete together. With sections on water, on bike and on foot, this Triathlon challenges you to take on whatever Mother Nature throws at you!

To enter simply visit this link, choose how you’d like to take part and enter your details –

The cycling and running routes take place in the glorious countryside around the Essex Wildlife Trust visitor centre at Hanningfield and Essex & Suffolk Water’s Cafe on the Water. The swim is a challenging open water course in the actual reservoir – the only time of the year this is allowed due to safety considerations.

Event organiser and Essex & Suffolk Water Project Engineer, Steve Cottis said:

“It’s great to be bringing the Hanningfield Triathlon back for the sixth year, especially after the great feedback we had from people who took part in 2018.

“The event gives you a unique opportunity to test your endurance in the beautiful surroundings of Hanningfield, all while raising money for WaterAid.”

Christine Mellor, Water Industry Partnerships Manager, WaterAid, said:

“It’s fantastic that Essex & Suffolk Water will be holding the Hanningfield Triathlon to raise money for WaterAid once again. The positive changes that follow for communities with access to water and sanitation, are incredible. These basic resources can transform lives and for the first time, people can see a better future for themselves and for their children.”

“WaterAid is delighted to have such incredible support and I’d like to thank all of those who’re energetically taking the plunge in May.”

The Blackwater Tri Club, from Maldon, will once again be providing assistance with equipment and volunteers to marshal the course.

Essex & Suffolk Water would like to remind everyone that swimming in Hanningfield Reservoir can be dangerous and is not permitted, except under careful supervision at events such as the triathlon. For more information about safety at reservoirs see