Gernon Bushes Nature Reserve
Know before you go
Parking informationPark on Garnon Mead considerately
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
When to visit
Opening timesAccessible at all times
Best time to visitAll 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.
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!