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West Wood Nature Reserve

A wonderful 58 acre reserve is of mixed deciduous woods, one of the finest in the area. There are early Purple and Greater Butterfly Orchids as well as Oxlips and Wood Barley, which is rare in Essex.

On chalky boulder clay, it has a history of coppicing dating back to the middle ages. This ceased in the middle of the last century but was resumed by the Essex Wildlife Trust when it acquired the site in 1972.

What to look for:

There are early Purple and Greater Butterfly Orchids as well as Oxlips and Wood Barley, which is rare in Essex. Pendulous Sedge grows along the rides.

The wood has a good selection of nesting birds including Goldcrest, several species of warbler, Stock Dove and Buzzard. It also supports good numbers of butterflies including Speckled wood, Brimstone and Ringlet.

The wood also has four ponds which have been restored and support Great Crested Newts as well as many dragonflies and damselflies. It has also been returned to a coppice cycle and areas of Norway spruce have been removed. Large numbers of deer frequent the wood and precautions have been taken to prevent them from browsing the young coppice regrowth and thus stunting or killing the trees; chestnut paling or brushwood fencing is erected around newly coppiced areas to keep them out.

Accessible at all times. Dogs allowed if under effective control.

Public Transport - Nothing suitable.

Directions - Midway between Thaxted and Great Sampford, set back from the B1051. A track leads to the reserve entrance from the left hand side of the road, one mile north east of Thaxted. Or walk in along the bridleway from Tindon End.

Did you know?

West Wood is a wet woodland, so bring your wellington boots. This distinctive feature of the wood creates some interesting plants that you would not associate with a woodland, such as Ragged Robin which grows in the rides and glades.

Species and habitats

Habitats
Woodland

Nearby nature reserves

Shadwell Wood Nature Reserve
6 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust
Aubrey Buxton Nature Reserve
8 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust
Phyllis Currie Nature Reserve
11 miles - Essex Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Location
West Wood
Nature Reserve
Between Thaxted and Great Sampford, set back from the B1051
Thaxted
Essex
Map reference
TL 624 332
Best time to visit
Apr - Jul
Nov - Feb
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Accessible at all times.
Size
23.47 hectares
Parking
yes
Dogs
Dogs allowed
Reserve manager
Essex Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01621 862960
admin@essexwt.org.uk