Back to reserve map

Brookes Nature Reserve

This 60 acre site comprises over 40 acres of ancient woodland, the rest being former arable fields, part of which have been planted up with native trees. There are many wildflowers to be enjoyed and a wide variety of butterflies.

This 60 acre site comprises over 40 acres of ancient woodland, the rest being former arable fields, part of which have been planted up with native trees. The reserve is owned by the Coda Wildlife Trust and managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust.

What to look for:

The woods lie on a chalky boulder clay plateau and contain several woodland trees including Ash, Maple, Oak, Hornbeam, Birch and Lime. There are also several Wild Service trees, an uncommon tree, which used to be known as the Chequer tree. Its leaves resemble those of the Maple and in the spring it bears white flowers while in the autumn its leaves turn a red/copper colour.

In spring you can enjoy the sounds of Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Nightingales; Whitethroats can also be heard in the field hedges. Resident birds include Goldcrest, Tree-creeper, Bullfinch, Nuthatch and the tit family.

There is a beautiful array of Primroses and Violets in the spring and a small area of Woodruff, some Yellow Archangel, Cuckoo flower and Bugle. In summer Birds-foot Trefoil, Common Fleabane and Common Centaury can be found in the meadows together with many others.

A range of butterflies flourish on the resesrve including Speckled Wood and Ringlet. The Purple Hairstreak is present but well camouflaged , sitting on the leaves of Oak or Ash, and Small Heath and Skippers dart in and out of the long grass.

There are several ponds on the reserve; the smaller ones tend to dry up during hot summers but the larger ones are home to Common Frog, Smooth Newt and Great-crested Newts during the breeding season.

Accessible at all times and there is a network of historic green lanes, one a bridleway, that cross the woods. Dogs allowed if under effective control and kept on a lead, do not let children play near ponds as they can be dangerous. Waterproof footwear is essential in wet weather.

Public Transport - There is an hourly bus service between Halstead and Braintree.

Directions - Between Stisted and Greenstead Green north east of Braintree; from Greenstead Green the reserve is 2km down on the right and from Stisted 3km down on the left just past Tumblers Green.

Did you know?

The woods are known locally as Brook's Woods and the reserve is named after Thomas Brookes, the 18th century owner.

Species and habitats

Habitats
Woodland

Nearby nature reserves

Sergeants Orchard Nature Reserve
7 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust
Sandylay and Moat Woods Nature Reserve
7 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust
Phyllis Currie Nature Reserve
8 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Location
Brookes Nature Reserve
Between Sisted and Greenstead Green
North east of Braintree
Essex
Map reference
TL 808 268
Great for...
ancient trees
butterflies
wildflowers
Best time to visit
Jan - Dec
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Accessible at all times
Size
24.28 hectares
Status
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Access
Yes

Walking information
Do not let children play near the ponds as they can be dangerous. Waterproof footwear is essential in wet weather.
Parking
yes
Dogs
Dogs allowed
Reserve manager
Essex Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01621 862960
admin@essexwt.org.uk