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Thrift Wood

47ac/19ha  SSSI

Grid ref: TL 790 017 (click for o/s map)

Updated 25/08/2014


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This ancient wood, owned and managed by Essex Wildlife Trust, consists of hornbeam coppice with many oak standards, some birch, ash and coppiced sweet chestnut, and a number of wild service trees.

It is one of the principal Essex sites of the common cow-wheat, food plant of the heath fritillary butterfly. After becoming extinct in Essex, this butterfly was re-established in the reserve in 1984. It also has lots of slender St John's wort, heath wood-rush and pale and pill sedges.

There is a sizeable pool with a raised bog, thought to have been formed many years ago from clay-digging to make bricks. Here can be found greater spearwort, hop sedge and other aquatic plants, three species of sphagnum moss and the hair-moss Polytrichum commune.

Birds include woodpeckers and a good population of woodland warblers. The wood teems with wood ants and has a wide range of other insects

Visiting

The entrance is on the B1418 road 400m south of the Brewer's Arms PH in Bicknacre. There is parking for a few cars at the main gate, with overflow parking on the verge opposite.

Buses run every half-hour between Chelmsford and South Woodham Ferrers, stopping at the main gate.

Accessible at all times.

May for spring flowers and birdsong; late May on for heath fritillary and other butterflies.

Do not attempt to cross the pool's raised bog as conditions are dangerous.


Photo © Dennis Carter