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Work begins to improve Essex’s historic woodlands

2 March 2017

Essex’s historic and culturally significant woodlands are to benefit from a wide range of improvements as part of a five-year plan agreed with Natural England and The Forestry Commission.

Without active conservation, including some selective felling, ancient woods can lose some of the special wildlife that require open sunny glades, and paths can become overgrown and potentially a risk to the public.

Place Services is working closely with Essex County Council’s Country parks and The Conservation Volunteers to manage the project in an environmentally and financially sustainable way.

The woodland management will be carried out in a traditional manner with thinned and coppiced timber extracted using heavy horses. This is the preferred method for ancient woodland sites compared with the use of modern forestry machinery.

Work has commenced at Garnett’s Wood, near Great Dunmow and Thorndon Park in Brentwood. Over the five years the project will extend to cover 293 hectares of woodlands at 15 locations throughout the county.

The areas which are covered in the five year Countryside Stewardship plan include: Barnston Hall Estate (Uttlesford District), Belhus Woods Country Park (Havering Borough), Boyles Court Estate (Brentwood and Havering), Chalkey Wood (Braintree District), Codham Hall Estate (Brentwood District), Danbury Country Park (Chelmsford District), Debden Estate (Epping Forest District), Bluegates Farm Estate, (Tendring District), Lambourne Hall Estate (Epping Forest District), Levelly Wood (Braintree District), Partridge Green Estate (Chelmsford District), Prygo Park (Havering Borough), Stoverns Hall Estate (Braintree District), Thorndon Country Park (Brentwood District) and Weald County Park (Brentwood District).

Some of the timber will be used for the Leaky Dams project and the remainder will be available for the public to buy from a range of local outlets. For more information on Essex’s woods and why they are special visit essexwoodlandproject.org.