On a sunny afternoon last week I fancied a stroll around a woodland for a change, as I usually walk areas that have water in close proximity. I had a few local woodlands in the old memory banks that I could lose myself wandering around for a couple of hours but I fancied visiting somewhere new so I decided to head over to Leigh on Sea and explore Belfairs Woods as I have not been there before and recently I have had the place recommended to me by a couple of people.
Parking up on the road near the entrance to the golf course, as I wasn’t sure if there was a height restriction further into the woods actual car park, I donned my walking boots and loaded my rucksack with a fresh bottle of water and set of along the path which leads to the woods. Once past the actual car park there was a few different tracks to follow and I opted to take the righthand side pathway which ran through some nice mature trees alongside a small golf green. It was nice to walk in the shadow of the trees as the sun was pretty strong which I am not a fan of to be honest. There was not a lot of plant growth beneath the thick canopy of the trees, which you’d expect anyway, but it was a nice stretch to stroll through and the amount of squirrels scurrying up and down the trees was unbelievable, loads of them there was but I couldn’t get close enough to take a photo for love nor money.
Walking further along the track, there is numerous routes you can walk, I came to a statue of a woodsman carved into a tree trunk which looked great, I can only imagine the time and skill levels it must of taken to carve this figure. It was at this point that looked like a cross roads of pathways so I chose to hang a right and cross the small Prittlewell Brook and walk into Belfairs Nature Reserve. Now what I didn’t know is that there is a few different woodlands linked to Belfairs and you can wander in and out of them by following the various tracks that criss-cross the entire site. Whats more each woodland has different stands of trees and habitat, so you can walk from ancient woodland to woodlands being copsed through to woodland interspersed with heathland and scrubland. This is great as you can really appreciate the different flora that grows in each area.
I will be honest and say I preferred walking through Dodds Grove, Hadleigh Great Wood and Hadleigh Nature Reserve more than Belfairs Wood itself as there was a wider variety of plant life and less people, but the whole walk was a big surprise to me considering I only thought that Belfairs was just a small woods alongside a golf course, how wrong was I.
I ended up walking roughly 3.5 miles through some beautiful mature woodland on a lovely day in an area surrounded by civilisation which you wouldn’t believe was actually there. I thoroughly recommend you paying a visit to Belfairs at some point as you really will not be disappointed in the walk itself and to make things even better there is a nice restaurant located at the entrance of the woods which, judging by the glorious smells wafting along the closer pathways, serves up some cracking food. Belfairs and the surrounding woodland definitely have the BRYANS COUNTRYSIDE seal of approval.
I will definitely be venturing back there soon to explore each woodland individually as I reckon they deserve such. Keep an eye out here as I will post each trip……