Norsey Wood Local Nature Reserve

Norsey Wood is a 67-acre biological Site of Special Scientific Interest and Local Nature Reserve. The woodland was once predominantly oak woodland but now has been converted to mixed sweet chestnut coppice. More detail here.

The regenerating trees provide valuable niches for a variety of animals and plants. Rare species of dragonfly can also be found here. The wood is also home to several historic sites, including Bronze Age bowl barrows and iron and Roman cemeteries. Visitors can also ride on the oldest woodland ride in the area. It is located at Outwood Common Rd, Billericay CM11 1HA.

Norsey Wood is one of the largest conservation areas in Essex. Located on the outskirts of Billericay, there is a good mixture of coppice and mixed woodland. Interestingly, it also contains archaeological features dating from the prehistoric and Roman ages. You can also find evidence of continuous woodland management in the medieval period. The forest also contains physical remains relating to military use in a comparatively recent era.

The woodland contains a late Iron Age urnfield. Many of the bodies of the late Iron Age were cremated and placed in pottery urns. These graves were often grouped together in small ditched compounds. They may be related to tribal or family groups. These ancient burial sites are rare and significant for providing important information on the social structure and beliefs of the inhabitants of the area.

The wood has also discovered Mesolithic artefacts. One of these is a flaked-flint axehead. In 1994, archaeologists from the Essex County Archaeological department discovered a flaked-flint axehead. Other ancient artefacts found at the Norsey Wood Local Nature Reserve include a neolithic axehead. Read more about Chelmsford here.

The enclosure of this wood protected earlier human activity. Some Bronze Age activity is visible as earthworks, while other remains remain hidden until disturbed by gravel extraction in the 19th century. Once home to two Bronze Age burial mounds, the wood contains one surviving barrow. Its plan is circular and does not have a high profile, measuring 15m in diameter and 1.5m high. It is now a protected monument.

The wood is approximately triangular in plan. It comprises 66 hectares. The southern boundary of the Wood is dominated by a steep-sided marshy valley. The boundary of the Wood was virtually completely enclosed by perimeter earthworks until the 1930s. The boundaries were unchanged since 1593. The eastern area is dominated by a large, eroded plateau, with a number of streams and the western area is a narrow valley.