Brookes nature reserve

Photo - Peter Bowden

Great Crested Newt
Pond at Brookes nature reserve

Photo - Peter Bowden 

Step into this wonderful pocket of ancient woodland and meadows, filled with wildflowers in spring and butterflies in summer

Location

Brookes Nature Reserve
Back Lane
Braintree
Essex
CM77 8BA

OS Map Reference

TL813265
A static map of Brookes Nature Reserve

Know before you go

Size
24 hectares

Parking information

Coded padlock entrance to carpark, also parking just off the road by bridleway entrance.

Walking trails

There is a network of permissive paths including a historic green lane and one bridleway that crosses the woods. Please see interpretation board 100m in from bridleway entrance for more details.

Access

Very muddy paths during winter, so waterproof footwear is essential in wet weather

Dogs

Dogs permitted
Under effective control

Facilities

Picnic area

When to visit

Opening times

Accessible at all times

Best time to visit

All year round

About the reserve

Lying on a chalky boulder clay plateau, these woodlands are filled with Ash, Maple, Oak, Hornbeam, Birch and Lime trees. Amongst them is the rarer Wild Service trees, with its maple shaped leaves, beautiful white flowers in spring and gorgeous red and copper colour in Autumn.

In spring, wander around the woods serenaded by the calls of Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and if you’re lucky maybe even a Nightingale, or the occasional Whitethroat nearer the hedge fringes. See if you can spot the undulating flight of a Goldcrest, or a Treecreeper, Bullfinch and Nuthatch as they pass by. The woodland floor hosts a beautiful array of Spring Primroses, Violets, with patches of Woodruff, Yellow Archangel, Cuckoo Flower and Bugle.

Into the summer and Birds-foot Trefoil, Common Fleabane and Common Centaury can be found out in the meadows, accompanied by flittering Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Small Heath and Skippers butterflies. If you look closely at the leaves of Oak and Ash, you may even spot a Purple Hairstreak!

Hidden among the trees are several ponds, home to Common Frog, Smooth Newt and the protected Great Crested Newts during their breeding season.

Contact us

Environmental designation

Ancient Woodland
Local Wildlife Site (LWS)
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Speckled Wood

Photo - Peter Hewitt

Did you Know?

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