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Summary: An important ancient woodland with Small-leaved Lime.
Description: The wood covers about 24ha and is a public park managed by Essex. Access is from a small car park by the road that runs S from Barnston (on the A130) towards High Easter. Management is mainly coppicing of the Small-leaved Lime trees. The wood is mentioned in Domesday, when it had enough woodland for foraging by a number of pigs, so clearly it was well-established by then. It is almost certainly a relic of the original wildwood in England, which was mainly this same Small-leaved Lime. It has been coppiced for a very long time, but then a long gap meant some coppice stools grew huge limbs. Some stools are several metres across. Other trees have arrived in some places, such as Oak, Hazel etc, and Pines were planted in one small area. There are several ponds, mainly under a dark canopy, but a wide ride has been created and here are found lots of butterflies on the flowers and I saw a snake once. The plants are very varied, as are the bryophytes, but so far fungi have been a bit disappointing.
Reason for interest: It is one of the few remaining really ancient woodlands left over from the primeval forest or wildwood. Its ancient coppice management has recently been restored, to good effect.
Comment: There are lists of lots of different kinds of wildlife recorded in this wood, but fungi have only just been started on. It takes many years to find all the fungi, so this job will take some time yet.
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