Gernon Bushes Nature Reserve

Gernon Bushes nature reserve

Photo - David Knockton 

Gernon Bushes in the snow

Photo - Jon Whitehouse 

Marsh Marigold

Photo - Katrina Martin / 2020VISION

Step straight in to a fairy tale with this beautiful ancient woodland, filled with rare and fascinating marsh plants and flowers


Garnon Mead
CM16 7RW

OS Map Reference

A static map of Gernon Bushes Nature Reserve

Know before you go

34 hectares

Parking information

Park on Garnon Mead considerately

Walking trails

Lots of paths around and through the wood, with the Essex Way path leading through 


Mix of surfaced and un-surfaced paths, with a track through the center 


Dogs permitted
Under effective control

When to visit

Opening times

Accessible at all times

Best time to visit

All year round

About the reserve

This magical pocket of ancient woodland is the last remnant of the old Coopersale Common that once linked Epping Lower Forest along the hill ridge to Ongar Park, the Royal Hunting Forest. With its ancient Hornbeam pollards and network of woodland ponds, this reserve feels straight out of a fairy tale.

Follow the paths to the north of the reserve, where the old gravel working sites have gradually been transformed into bogs before circling round to the south of the reserve. Here you’ll pass two springs that rise out on the edge of the plateau, their streams descending through another series of bogs, home to the rare Marsh Fern. Lady Fern, Bogbean, Marsh Valerian, Marsh Marigold and beautifully pink Ragged Robin can also be found.

Environmental designation

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

Did you know?

Gernon Bushes is the remnants of wood pasture - can you imagine Ox and Swine grazing under the large Hornbeam pollards?



Why have the Hornbeams been pollarded?

Pollarding is the process of pruning the top branches of a tree, to promote denser branch and foliage growth.

At Gernon Bushes this was done to grow the wood out of the reach of browsing deer that lived in the woods!