A couple of weeks ago I had my exploring head firmly screwed on and upon scanning a local map I found a couple of small woodlands that looked as though they might be interesting to have a wee wander around. The first woodland I visited was just outside Wickford on the outskirts of Downham, just a stones throw from Hanningfield Reservoir.
Crowsheath Wood is managed by The Essex Wildlife Trust is around 20 acres in size and is an ancient coppice woodland with a mix of Oak, Field Maple, Wild Service Trees and Hornbeam with bluebells, anemones, primroses and ragged robins growing on the woodland floor during their seasons. Unfortunately I did not get to see these wildflowers when I visited as it was during the summer period. The usual birdlife can be regularly seen and during my visit I saw pigeons, crows, my favourite Jays, a mix of various twitty birds as well as a woodpecker bouncing along beneath the trees on the ground. I also saw quite a few squirrels as well which always buts a smile on my face.
To access the woodland I parked a little way up the road in a small lay-by, you could always park in the Wildlife Trusts Car Park at the reservoir I guess, then walked along the path to the entrance gate where you walk across a lovely little meadow, which apparently has sheep in regularly so there are signs to keep your dogs on their lead, before you reach the edge of the trees.
Once inside the canopy of the trees there are a couple of tracks that you can take to explore this little woods and I took the righthand pathway and walked in a big loop around the perimeter of the woodland and back to the entrance where I originally started. As mentioned I saw a good amount of birdlife as well as some squirrels and I also saw a couple of rabbits nibbling some grass in what appeared to be someones very large garden just beyond the perimeter fence.
There are a few ponds situated beneath the trees canopy in one corner of the woods but on my visit they were practically dry, my guess due to the hot, dry weather we have been having recently, which was a shame. Along one side of the woods is a large farmers field which I could see has a track running around it and is easily accessed through a gap in the hedge of the woodland, this looked to be a nice route to take but I didn’t on this day as the sun was beating down and I didn’t really fancy it.
I was only there for barely half hour but I enjoyed my little stroll around this newly found, to me anyway, woodland and would recommend you visit there if you are passing through. I will definitely be returning in the autumn/early winter period as I reckon it could be a good foraging area, and I will also return in Spring as I love walking through the trees when there is a carpet of woodland flowers to be seen.
I recorded my visit using my KOMOOT APP so if you would like to follow my route, and get the exact location of CROWSHEATH WOOD NATURE RESERVE then please click the link HERE.