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West Wood (Thaxted)

59ac/24ha  SSSI

Grid ref: TL 621 331 (click for o/s map)

Updated 10/12/2020.

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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.

Nesting birds include goldcrest, several migrant warblers, stock dove and buzzard. Butterflies include speckled wood, brimstone and ringlet.

Four ponds support great crested newts as well as many dragonflies and damselflies.


On the B1051 midway between Thaxted and Great Sampford, one mile north-east of Thaxted. A track leads to the reserve entrance from the western side of the road. SatNav: CB10 2SA.

Accessible at all times.

Early spring through to mid-summer for flowers and breeding birds.

© Dudley Miles