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Sandylay & Moat Woods


Grid ref: TL 735 174 (click for o/s map)

Updated 25/08/2014

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These two attractive small woods next to one another were donated to Essex Wildlife Trust in 1982 by the late Mr Roland Adams and Mrs Adams. Notably, they contain a quantity of coppiced small-leaved lime, growing on boulder clay. One lime, in the middle of a ride in Sandylay Wood, is of great size and age.

Sycamore and planted poplars are now being reduced in favour of other species, including small-leaved lime for coppicing; and conifer plantations are being reduced in favour of broadleaved trees.

Part of a field to the south of Sandylay Wood has been added to the reserve recently, and has been planted up with native trees.

The woods are rich in flowering plants. In spring, wood anemones are abundant by the small stream and primroses alongside the paths and rides. Other species include sweet violet, spurge laurel, early purple orchid, twayblade and stinking iris. Wood sedge is widespread, and the unusual thin-spiked wood sedge occurs also.

The reserve has many typical woodland birds, notably goldcrest around a plantation of Norway spruce, and a rich insect life


In Great Leighs. Follow the public footpath for 400m from Mill Lane. Cars can be parked on the wide grass verge along the lane, but please do not obstruct the gateway providing access to the footpath.

Buses stop on the A131 near the Dog and Partridge PH, from where a public footpath runs east from the road to another entrance.

Accessible at all times.

Late March to May for flowering plants and breeding birds.

Photo © Pat Allen