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Fordham Heath

36ac/15ha  

Grid ref: TL 944 263 (click for o/s map)

Updated 25/08/2014


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This is a surviving remnant of ancient wet heathland, granted to Eight Ash Green Parish Council by Act of Parliament in 1965. It is managed by the parish council with assistance from the River Colne Countryside Project.

Until the 1940s the heath was dominated by heather and gorse and was grazed by commoners' cattle, but when grazing ceased it was invaded by trees such as oak, birch, blackthorn and aspen which dominate its wooded areas today. But large open areas still remain and are being cut regularly to encourage the regrowth of the original heathland species.

Over 150 different species of wild flower have been recorded in the mosaic of rough grassland, scrub and woodland, including sneezewort, a plant typical of damp rough grassland, both of which are now very scarce.

The woodland in the northern section is being coppiced on a cycle of 12–15 years. This keeps the trees healthy and encourages a diversity of wildlife. Birds that breed here include whitethroat and nightingale

Visiting

Turn north off the A1124 Colchester–Halstead road in Eight Ash Green, about 800m north of its junction with the A12. The heath is about 400m further on.

Buses from Colchester to Fordham and Wakes Colne run past the heath.

Accessible at all times.

Paths may be wet and muddy at any time of the year.


Photo © unknown