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Gernon Bushes

77ac/31ha  SSSI

Grid ref: TL 478 030 (click for o/s map)

Updated 25/08/2014

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This is the last remnant of the old Coopersale Common that once linked Epping Lower Forest along the hill ridge to Ongar Park. It has many ancient hornbeam pollards plus some more recent woodland and a network of ponds originally dug for gravel extraction.

It descends steeply from the plateau of the ridge across pebbly clay drift and claygate beds to London clay lower down. In the north of the reserve the gravel workings have developed into sphagnum bogs.

In the south two springs rise on the edge of the plateau and their streams descend steep-sided valleys through a series of bogs with large patches of the rare marsh fern. Other notable plants include lady fern, bog bean (in one of its very few Essex sites), marsh valerian, marsh marigold and ragged robin.

It has a good variety of resident and summer migrant birds


Turn off the B181 towards Coopersale village and turn left on to Garnon Mead 200 yards after passing under the railway bridge.

A bus service runs to Coopersale from Harlow via Epping.

Accessible at all times

Spring for songbirds; summer for marsh and bog plants.

Photo © Tony Gunton