It’s that magical time of year again when our woodlands create dazzling displays of colour in the Autumnal sunshine, while fascinating fungi shoot up from the ground in an array of shapes and sizes.
Here are just a few of our fantastic woodland nature reserves that are a perfect destination for an Autumnal walk.
Belfairs Woodland Centre and nearby reserves in Leigh-on-Sea
A fantastic example of ancient woodland, the Belfairs woodland complex in busy Southend forms part of the important Daws Heath Living Landscape. The woods here contain over 30 different types of trees and are a green lung in this densely urban area. Essex Wildlife Trust has four connecting nature reserves here: Pound Wood, Tile Wood, Little Haven and Valerie Wells Wood. You can end your walk by stopping off for a cup of tea and a slice of cake in Essex Wildlife Trust’s Belfairs Woodland Centre.
West Wood in Thaxted
Located in the north-west of the county, this wonderfully quiet nature reserve is full of mixed deciduous woods. This is a wet woodland so bring your wellington boots. This distinctive feature of the wood allows a whole array of interesting plants to grow throughout the year.
Danbury Ridge nature reserves
A network of nature reserves covering 250 acres make up the Danbury Ridge; walk between a mosaic of woodland, heathland and alongside running streams. You’ll reach one of the highest points in Essex from the Danbury Parish Church in the village, overlooking the surrounding countryside.
Weeleyhall Wood in Weeley
This nature reserve is one of the finest surviving woods in the Tendring area, after the 1987 storm left many trees uprooted or damaged. Take the circular path around this woods tucked in between farmland and be transported into this peaceful environment.
Gernon Bushes in Epping
This woodland was once linked to Epping Lower Forest and is the last remnant of the old Coopersale Common. Large ancient Hornbeam pollards line the paths with beautiful displays of colour.
Hanningfield Reservoir Visitor Centre in Billericay
Start in the Visitor Centre then follow The Wind in the Willows trail through the woodland, while stopping off in the numerous bird hides to enjoy panoramic views of the reservoir. A wonderful woodland for families with young children or for avid birdwatchers to enjoy.
But there are so many more to get out and enjoy, click here to find your nearest nature reserve.