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Brookes Reserve

59ac/24ha  SSSI (part)

Grid ref: TL 814 266

Updated 31/12/2023.

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This wood is named after Thomas Brookes, the 18th-century owner. It comprises 40 acres of ancient woodland and some 18 acres of former arable fields that have been planted up with native trees. It is coppiced on rotation to produce charcoal and firewood.

Most of the wood is ash and hazel coppice, with areas of small-leaved lime and hornbeam and more than 20 wild service trees. Thirteen ponds and the wet surface are evidence of the chalky boulder clay soil.

Bramble, pendulous sedge and dog's mercury dominate the ground flora, with large areas of primrose, but it also has some unusual plants, including greater butterfly orchid, twayblade and herb paris.

Nuthatch and treecreeper nest here, along with many summer migrant songbirds. Brown hares and herds of fallow deer can often be seen.


Between Stisted and Greenstead Green north-east of Braintree: from Greenstead Green the reserve is about 2km down on the right and from Stisted 3km down on the left just past Tumbler's Green. Park with care on the verge. SatNav: CM77 8BA.

Hourly bus service Halstead–Braintree.

Accessible at all times. Car park is locked except by arrangement to discourage misuse.

For songbirds, a sunny morning in April/May; a warm summer afternoon for butterflies; early October for autumn colours.

Please keep dogs on a lead.

Please do not let children play near ponds as they could be dangerous. Please keep to the paths. Waterproof footwear essential in wet weather.

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