Places to see birds

Chalkney Wood

Chalkney Wood

Located near Earl's Colne at Grid Reference TL 274874, this ancient woodland, now a SSSI, is under the ownership and management of Essex County Council (25ha) and the Forestry Commission (48ha). The whole of the 73ha is accessible to the public at all times. For at least the last 400 years the main method of management has been coppicing, which continues to the present day. However, the richness of wildlife in the wood is probably due to it having come into existence soon after the last Ice Age and, having had 10.000 years of development, shows evidence of occupation during Roman and Medieval Times.
Coppicing is the ancient art of cutting of trees and shrubs to ground level allowing vigorous regrowth and a sustainable supply of timber, poles and stakes for future generations. Trees and shrubs that are cut down this way can produce vigorous shoots that grow over 30cm in a week and a coppiced tree can live many times longer than if the tree had not been cut down at all.
A 25 year coppicing cycle is used at Chalkney, during which different areas of the woodland are felled. The first cycle under Essex County Council was finished early in 1999. Opening up the woodland floor to sunlight allows a rich diversity of plants to flourish, so attracting feeding insects, birds and other wildlife. Wonderful displays of bluebells and wood anemones can be seen in the spring. Nightingales are attracted by thick cover that remains during the coppicing cycle and the many other woodland birds can be seen and heard throughout the year.
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