A Conversation for The h2g2 Essex Researchers Group

Essex Wildlife

Post 41

Rosa Baggins daughter of Pronto Baggins and Mimosa Bunce

Cranham Marsh, is 32 acres of sedge hen, marshy ancient grassland and 3 small ancient woods. It is to part of the Thames Chase Community Gateway.

Essex Wildlife

Post 42

Rosa Baggins daughter of Pronto Baggins and Mimosa Bunce

Here are the following plant life that have been found in the Essex countryside - ancient grasslands, marshes and woods: Common spotted orchid, yellow rattle, meadowsweet, corncockle, wood anemone, spindle, hazel, gorse and ling. Sparrows, thrushes, starlings, wood pigeons, blackbirds, ravens, magpies, Limnet, Little owl and yellow hammer have been seen throughout the county of Essex.

Essex Wildlife

Post 43

Rosa Baggins daughter of Pronto Baggins and Mimosa Bunce

I never thought of Epping Forest being part of Essex.

It is 12 miles long and covers more than 6,000 acres of forest from Wanstead in the South to to Epping in the north.

It was declared a forest by King Henry I and was once part of Waltham Forest which was a more larger area. The wooded area was not much bigger than it is now.

Essex Wildlife

Post 44

Rosa Baggins daughter of Pronto Baggins and Mimosa Bunce

Birds, Flora and Fauna - Estuary and coast

Burds: Curfew, oystercatcher, sheldurck, redshank, teal, brent goose and common tern.

Flora: Glasswort, yellow horned poppy, sea purslane, and sea holly.

Fauna: Scarce emerald dragonfly

Essex Wildlife

Post 45

Rosa Baggins daughter of Pronto Baggins and Mimosa Bunce

Havering Country park is in Havering-atte-Bower and it was the site of the Palace of Havering. The Park dates back to back to the Roman occupation. Archaeological digs that have been carried out after a number of coins were found which revealed possible evidence that a Roman villa could have been there. There have been a group of roman cremation sites and gullies associated with metal working which indicated that there was industrial activity. The very straight Clockhouse Lane could have been constructed by the Romans.

In the 12th and 15th century it was one of the main English royal and residences. King Edward IV in 1465 granted The Liberty to Havering-atte-Bower. It was close to the Royal Forests of Epping and Hainault. Havering Park is also mentioned in the Doomesday Book. Hainault Forest is now linked to Havering Country Park by a footpath which is a couple of miles long.

The Havering Palace started to fell into decay by 1650. Then by early part of the 19th century, all of the Palace had gone. There were no traces of it left.

In the Victorian period, Havering Park was a lot more larger than it is today and it included three farms. The Park estate was owned by the McIntosh family and they had constructed a mansion, landscaped the park and planted an avenue of Wellingtonia trees, which are also known as Giant Sequoias. This avenue of Wellingtonias led to the new mansion.

The Wellingtonias trees were discovered at the time the Californian Gold rush around 1850 andthen were named in honour of the Arthur Wesley, the Duke of Wellington. The trees then became very fashionable to plant them in English estates. They are the biggest trees in California and but not the tallest. These trees grow as high as 100 metres. The oldest of the trees are around 4,000 years old.

After Mrs McIntosh's death, part of the estate was then sold into long thin one acre plots about £30 each to people from the East end of London around the early 1920's , which also included market stall holders. Many of the new owners visited their plots at weekends, staying in tents and then slowly building their own bungalows. Some of the new residents moved in permanently.

The plots that were laid out along the Wellingtonia Avenue and Pinewood Road still exists as tracks throughout the park. One of the bungalows is now the Park Office.

The former Greater London Council purchased many of the private plots, covering this part of the Havering Ridge and reinstated the area to its previous beauty. In 1975 the Havering Country Park was opened to the public, and then in 1986 it was transferred to the London Borough of Havering.

By following the footpaths or bridlepaths you will find woodland glades, ponds and hay meadows which are home to many animals and plants.

Fallow and red deer have been kept at the park ready for use and the stock was replaced from Hainault Forest. There was also cattle and pigs being kept in the park.

The best time to hear woodland birds is in Spring.

Summer is the best time to see the meadows and woods full of colourful wild flowers along with butterflies and bees.

Varieties of fungi, nuts and berries are best seen in the Park at Autumn time. The woodlands become alive with colour with the various colours of autumnal hues.

At winter time rabbits, squirrels, foxes are more visible and can be seen when you take a walk there.

There are silver birch, pine, gorse and bracken grow well in the stony and sandy soil on the higher ground,. Oak, hornbeam and bramble grow on the heavier and damper London Clay soils of the lower slopes and valley.

Some parts of the woodland have grown naturally from tree seed spread by animals and the wind, but in other parts, such as the Hawthorn Wood, were planted as saplings.

There are scattered remnants of the old coppiced hazel from the days when hazel had many domestic uses which include thatching spars, hurdles, barrel hoops and firewood.

Coppicing is a traditional technique of woodland management. The woodland is divided into compartments called coupes. Once every 7 to 15 years, on a rotation basis, each coupe is cut down to ground level. This has a similar effect as pruning and it rejuvenates the trees as the stumps then grow new vigorous straight new shoots.

The Bean Field and part of the Car Park Field are part of the two grassland conversation areas. There is a range of beautiful wildflowers grown there, these include oxeye daisies, clover and bird's foot trefoil. The Big Field is used for the production of hay.

There are two ponds supporting a variety of plant and animal life. Pond dipping is a popular summer activity with schoolchildren, where they catch diving beetles, water boatmen, pond skaters, snails and the occasional newt.

The ponds are also is used as an important source of drinking water for other animals, as well as a habitation area for dragonflies and damselflies, whose larvae live in the pond.

Havering Country Park is a wonderful refuge for woodland birds. It has an established pine woodland and is home to such birds as the goldcrest and coal tit.

The goldcrest is a winter and a breeding visitor and joins the bands of tits, treecreepers and a few nuthatches and woodpeckers to forage for insects in the woodland.

In winter, at night time you can see the goldcrests huddle into holes in the soft Wellingtonia bark and then fluff up their back feathers for extra warmth. During the nonth of May, the high-pitched song of the goldcrest can be heard from the top of the pines and the Wellingtonias where they build their nests to breed.

All three species of the British woodpecker breed in the park and the green woodpeckers feed on any of the hills in some of the grassy clearings.

The park is also a favourite breeding ground for many of the other woodland birds – such as chiffchaff, willow warbler, blackcap and garden warbler. Others breed in the scrub including goldfinch, linnet and yellowhammer.

Essex Wildlife

Post 46

Rosa Baggins daughter of Pronto Baggins and Mimosa Bunce

Mardyke Valley near South Ockendon will have improvements to meadows, new reed beds, water vole banks and a new woodland planted.

Essex Wildlife

Post 47

Rosa Baggins daughter of Pronto Baggins and Mimosa Bunce

Marsh Farm Country Park, South Woodham Ferrers
is owned and managed by Essex County Council. It provides an enjoyable and educational day out for all the family.

Marsh Farm is a working farm where children can learn about farm animals and can get close to them in a safe environment in the adventure play areas. There is also a Country Park, which has excellent coastal walks and views of the River Crouch.

The farm animals on the farm trail where members of the public can feed them, stroke them and watch daily demonstrations. At the Pet Barn their are rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and ferrets.

New piglets are born all year round at the piggery where the public can see how quickly they grow up.

There are play areas for children both indoors and outdoors. As well as special craft activities held on weekends and at school holidays. There is sand pit for children to play in. There are also childrens rides on tractors and trailers. Children can also learn where their food comes from, how sheep are sheared and how many piglets does a sow have and many over lessons about farm life.

There are riverside walks, where you can watch the birdlife. There are also cycle routes.

There is a tea room where locally produced food is sold.

Events include:
Seaside Special - 24 July till 1 September
Bat Walk - Tue 15th and Tue 22nd August
Macbeth and Hog Roast evening - Fri 4th August
Friday Fun Day - Fri 4th, Fri 11th, Fri 18th and Fri 25 August
Donkey Day - Sun 13 August
Guinea Pig Show - Sun 3rd September
Autumn Nature Walk -Sun 17th September
Apple Day - Sun 15th October
Pumpkin Week - Mon 23rd to Fri 27th October
Halloween Walk - Tue 31st October

Milking Demonstration
Watch a cow being milked by hand or by machine in the mini milking parlour. The farm staff allow members of the public to feed the milk to the calves. This generally done at 12:00 and 3:30 on weekdays.

Essex Wildlife

Post 48

Rosa Baggins daughter of Pronto Baggins and Mimosa Bunce

Thames Chase has forests which cover Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Brentwood. Thames Chase - woodlands, country parks, open spaces and nature reserves centred on Upminster, between the Thames Esturary at Rainham Marshes and Brentwood and straddling the greater London boundary and the M25. Managed as a Community Forest since 1990.

Belhus Woods Country Park, Belhus Chase and Belhus Park Bluebell woodlands and a former parkland estate near South Ockendon.

Kenningtons Park is near Aveley and it is a newly created landscape of willows and lakes.

Eastbrookend Country Park and The Chase Local Nature Reserve of open grassland, mature and developing woodland and a variety of wetland habitats, much on reclaimed gravel pits, in a green corridor between Dagenham and Hornchurch, with a Millennium Centre powered by renewable energy.

Davy Down Riverside meadows near South Ockendon

Upminster The Thames Chase Forest Centre is the headquarters of Thames Chase. It is open to visitors throughout the year and is the perfect destination for trips out to the local countryside. Situated Pike Lane, Cranham, under two miles from central Upminster. The Forest Centre buildings are surrounded by new woodlands, meadows and ponds, and even an orchard of traditional apple varieties. This land is managed by our partner organisation, the Forestry Commission.

Hornchurch Country Park Previously the site of RAF Hornchurch and now offering woodlands, lakes and the Ingrebourne Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest. The adjoining Berwick Woods has ponds and rich bird life.

Oak Wood and Ash Plantation Woodlands near South Ockendon with a lake designed by Capability Brown

Thorndon Country Park south of Brentwood, another historic parkland estate. Adjoining are the ancient woodland of Hartswood and the unimproved grassland of Little Warley Common

The area is served by c2c rail services from London Fenchurch Street to Southend via Barking via Dagenham, Rainham, Purfleet and Upminster, with a connecting local service between Upminster, Ockendon and Grays. Great Eastern services from London Liverpool Street to Shenfield, Southend and Colchester via Romford, Harold Wood and Brentwood, with a connection between Romford and Upminster. London Underground's District Line connects Upminster and Dagenham with Barking.

Essex Wildlife

Post 49

Rosa Baggins daughter of Pronto Baggins and Mimosa Bunce

Davy Down Urban Riverside Park

Davy Down consists of around 32 acres of attractive landscape, nestled amongst large modern developments. Various events are held at the Riverside Park which include a Healthy Living Walk and open day activities include pond dipping, nature walks, water vole spotting.


Essex Wildlife

Post 50

Rosa Baggins daughter of Pronto Baggins and Mimosa Bunce

Rainham Marshes RSPB Nature Reserve

In 2000 the RSPB bought the firing range from the Ministry of Defence and transformed the land into a nature reserve which was opened in 2006.


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