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West Wood (Thaxted)

59ac/24ha  SSSI

Grid ref: TL 624 332 (click for o/s map)

Updated 20/08/2018

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This mixed deciduous wood near Thaxted is one of the finest in the area. On chalky boulder clay, it has a history of coppicing dating back to the middle ages. This ceased in the middle of the last century but was resumed by Essex Wildlife Trust when it acquired the site in 1972.

As well as oxlips it has early purple orchids and greater butterfly orchids, and also wood barley, which is rare in Essex. Pendulous sedge grows along the rides.

The wood has a good selection of nesting birds among which are goldcrest, several species of warbler, stock dove and buzzard. It also supports good numbers of butterflies including speckled wood, brimstone and ringlet.

The wood has four ponds which have been restored and support great crested newts as well as many dragonflies and damselflies.


Midway between Thaxted and Great Sampford, set back from the B1051. A track leads to the reserve entrance from the left-hand side of the road, one mile north-east of Thaxted. Or you can walk in along the bridleway from Tindon End. (CB10 2SA)

Accessible at all times.

Early spring through to mid-summer for flowers and breeding birds; mid-spring through to early autumn for butterflies.

Photo © Jonathan Smith