Free fishing in and around Stansted – Dunmow – Bishops Stortford – Braintree – Epping

25 Nov

Ideal for youngsters starting out

With the help of our many friendly anglers on the Stansted Angling Forum, we have put together a list of ponds and some nice stretches of River. All of these – at time of going to press haha – are free to fish. Our beloved sport of angling is ideal for youngsters, teaching them so many lessons for life. They quickly understand and appreciate wild life, their impact upon the environment, positive and negative, and importantly the need to be quite haha.

Here are a couple of notes to all those planning to fish any of these waters, or parents who would like to take their children fishing.  If you are aged 12 or over, you will need an environment agency license. For over 12 up to 16-years-old annual permits can be purchased for £5 from any post office or online through the post office.  It is the law to have a license to fish anywhere in the UK. Importantly, please take all your litter home with you, because if you don’t these free waters will be closed for good.  Always use an unhooking mat for any fish over 1lb and please always take a good quality disgorger. Always treat the fish with the highest level of care.

We shall start with the Aubrey Buxton Nature Reserve.

As you enter the reserve, the best pond seems to be the first one on the right. It is a nice little pond, with plenty of Rudd and a handful of Tench and small carp. The order of the day should be a few maggots, and perhaps some sweet-corn. A good benchmark should be hook sizes 12 to 16 and line 3 to 5lb.



Braintree Discovery Centre Pond

A mixed fishery, with many small fish and a fair few carp to pull at your rod. Order of the day should be maggots, bread, sweet corn and some ground bait. Hook size 10 to 14, tied to line of around 6 to 8lb would be ideal.


Braintree Bannantyne Gym Pond

Again, this is a mixed fishery, with plenty of fish to be caught. You will find rudd, roach, small carp, tench and some small bream. I would suggest starting with maggots as a hook bait, but talk to the locals, who will be happy to help. We are a nice bunch of people us anglers haha. Hook size 10 to 14, tied to line of around 6 to 8lb would be ideal.


River Chelmer in and around Dunmow.

Please check signs at access points to the river, but most of the river around here is free.  You are likely to find dace, roach, Perch, and a few decent chub. Hooks should be 12 to 16 and tied to 4 to 6lb line. Maggots and worms should be the order of the day.  Stealth will help you when fishing a small river like this, so keep your head down and avoid banging around of the bank.



The Doctors Pond, Dunmow

This is a well-known pond locally, but most people don’t realise that it’s free. It is and always has been. You can only fish from designated areas, so please observe the signs. With a venue like this, in a town centre, it is very important that you respect the other people using the area. It is always important to take your litter home with you, but even more so in an open environment like this, Please don’t give people an excuse to complain. There are Carp to 20lb although these are hard to come by, but can be captured with a bit of thought. Besides these rod-pullers, there are many other smaller carp along with small roach and Rudd. Maggots, sweetcorn and bread will work well here. Hook sizes should be 14 right up to 6 depending on your target. The larger hooks should be used for the bigger fish. Lines of around 8 to 10lb should be a good starting point.


Felsted, Flitch Green Pond

There are lots of small carp, up to 6lb, and plenty of Roach and Rudd. You should catch fish most of the day here. As with most small ponds, a bit of ground bait along with sweetcorn and maggots will work well. Float fishing with hooks between 12 and 16 and lines of around 5lb should be the order of the day.



Perch Pond, Dunmow

Another small old pond with plenty of fish, Carp up to 6lb would be a good return. There are also Roach Rudd and some Tench that should be on your target list. Float fishing will work here, and gain natural baits such as maggots and worms will score well here.


River Stort, Bishops Stortford

This stretch holds good Chub, Dace, Roach and a fair few Trout. Worms and maggots will score best here. As with most small rivers, look for the deeper runs, keep your head down, and try to avoid spooking the fish.



The “ressi”,  Stansted.

This place is stuffed with Carp of all sizes. There are also some good-sized Perch. Groundbait, pellets and boilies will all work well here. Hook sizes 12 up to 6’s should be the order of the day. Ledgering will work best here. It is a bit of a walk, but it is worth it. Follow the public footpath that runs along the rail line, then when you come to the bridge under the rail line, climb the small fence, go under the bridge and you will find yourself by the lake.



Epping Forest Ponds

According to records, there are around one hundred ponds in Epping Forest and as such, far too many to give you detailed information on here. In essence, most of them contain roach, rudd, tench, crucian carp, along with mirror’s and common’s. There sizes are dictated by the size of the pond/lake.  Below is a list of all the ponds that can be fished, unless there is a sign prohibiting you from fishing.  Most of them are free to fish, and these tend to be the smaller ponds. Some of the venues do carry a day ticket, although these tend to be the bigger ponds.

wake-valley baldwins

  • Baldwin’s Pond
  • Bell Common Pond South
  • Blackweir Pond
  • Bulrush Pond
  • Butler’s Retreat Pond
  • Connaught Water
  • Earl’s Path Pond
  • Goldings Hill Pond
  • Higham’s Park Lake
  • Hollow Pond
  • Johnston’s Pond
  • Knighton Lake
  • Leigh’s Pond
  • Lower Forest Lake
  • Oak Hill South Pond
  • Ornamental Waters
  • Perch Pond
  • Pizzle Pit
  • South Potato Pond
  • Staples Pond
  • Theydon Bois Pond
  • Wake Valley Pond
  • Hawcock Pond
  • Warren Pond

Below is a link to City Of London website, which gives more details… Included on the website is a link to a map of all the venues available for fishing.

I do hope this helps in some small way. Go-Catch SteveD


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