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Shut Heath Wood

57ac/23ha  

Grid ref: TL 853 133 (click for o/s map)

Updated 25/08/2014


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This Essex Wildlife Trust reserve, just below the crest of the Great Totham Ridge, includes 23 acres of ancient woodland forming part of the Chantry Wood complex. The remaining 27 acres are arable land managed by a tenant farmer. The wood comprises large oak standards with sections of sweet chestnut and hornbeam coppice, and ash, elder and hazel understorey.

The eastern edge is wet, with an open glade and thick scrub areas, while the southern edge consists of secondary woodland of silver birch and hawthorn that has colonised the adjacent field edges. The Trust has resumed coppicing and created some open areas to rejuvenate the wood.

In spring, bugle, cuckoo flower, wood sorrel, bluebells, wood anemone, primrose and dog violet flower, followed in summer by yellow pimpernel, red bartsia, greater birdsfoot trefoil and wood sage.

Dragonflies and damselflies may be seen in the glade and, in July, glow-worms. Large amounts of standing dead wood in the site make it excellent for invertebrates, including many wood ants

Visiting

Leave the B1022 Maldon Road at Roundbush Corner, Great Totham, taking Mountains Road. After about 1200m take the first turning on the right (Tiptree Road), and the reserve entrance is about 400m down on the left with double gates at the entrance. Take care when leaving as visibility is restricted.

Bus to Great Totham from Maldon or Colchester and get off at Great Totham post office. The reserve is 800m north.

Accessible at all times

March and April for spring flowers


Photo © Susie Torino