Our Nature Reserve

The Wickford Wildlife Society manages a local nature reserve at Crowsheath Wood on behalf of the Essex Wildlife Trust. In addition to being involved in the management of this reserve, regular work parties are organised, largely made up of society members, to carry out essential maintenance tasks. Our work parties are on Sunday mornings, every fortnight between September and the end of March. If you wish to join one of the work parties please email us at info@wickfordwildlife.co.uk to find out when and where the next one will be held.

Details of our reserve is below if you wish to visit or join one of the work parties. Also click here for the Essex Wildlife Trust website page for this reserve - http://www.essexwt.org.uk/visitor_centres__nature_reserves/crowsheath_wood_nature_reserve/

Crowsheath Wood

  GR: TQ 724 965 19.88 acres

This reserve is owned by the Essex Wildlife Trust and comprises of 17 acres of ancient coppice woodland with 3 acres of adjoining open land. The many mature standard oak trees are an impressive feature of the wood. The coppice trees are mainly hornbeam, with a little ash, midland hawthorn, field maple and wild service.


The ground flora is varied, and includes bluebell, wood anemone, primrose, pignut, ragged robin and goldilocks buttercup. Lesser spearwort is present in the ponds near the centre of the reserve.

Most of the bird species typical of lowland broadleaved woodland are present. Several species of warbler (including sedge warbler), woodpeckers,
nuthatch and nightingale have been recorded.

Much of the western part of the wood has been coppiced in recent years, and some broadleaved trees have been replanted; coppicing is being extended to enhance wildlife interest.The open land is grazed by horses.Routine management consists of removing invading bramble and keeping the paths

The reserve is less than 800m south of Hanningfield Water in the parish of South Hanningfield. Access is from Crowsheath Lane, which runs south from the road causeway across Hanningfield Reservoir towards Downham.

Buses from Ramsden Heath to Wickford via Downham stop at the southern end of the lane.

Accessible at all times.

Spring for flowers and visiting birds; autumn for a good selection of fungi.

Please note that the wood is marked as Thrift Wood on many maps – the Trust elected to adopt a local name to avoid confusion with its Thrift Wood reserve at Bicknacre.