Brookes Nature Reserve is a 60 acre site comprises over 40 acres of ancient woodland, the rest being former arable fields, part of which have been planted up with native trees. There are many wildflowers to be enjoyed and a wide variety of butterflies. The 60 acre site comprises over 40 acres of ancient woodland, the rest being former arable fields, part of which have been planted up with native trees. The reserve is owned by the Coda Wildlife Trust and managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust.
What to look for: – The woods lie on a chalky boulder clay plateau and contain several woodland trees including Ash, Maple, Oak, Hornbeam, Birch and Lime. There are also several Wild Service trees, an uncommon tree, which used to be known as the Chequer tree. Its leaves resemble those of the Maple and in the spring it bears white flowers while in the autumn its leaves turn a red/copper colour.In spring you can enjoy the sounds of Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Nightingales; Whitethroats can also be heard in the field hedges. Resident birds include Goldcrest, Tree-creeper, Bullfinch, Nuthatch and the tit family. There is a beautiful array of Primroses and Violets in the spring and a small area of Woodruff, some Yellow Archangel, Cuckoo flower and Bugle. In summer Birds-foot Trefoil, Common Fleabane and Common Centaury can be found in the meadows together with many others.
A range of butterflies flourish on the resesrve including Speckled Wood and Ringlet. The Purple Hairstreak is present but well camouflaged , sitting on the leaves of Oak or Ash, and Small Heath and Skippers dart in and out of the long grass. There are several ponds on the reserve; the smaller ones tend to dry up during hot summers but the larger ones are home to Common Frog, Smooth Newt and Great-crested Newts during the breeding season.
On my visit to the Brooks Reserve I didn’t see very much wildlife other than the ones who decided to make flight the minute I aimed the camera but I did have a pleasant and peaceful walk and a interesting conversation with a rambling couple who also were enjoying the delights of nature on a wonderfully sunny October day.
I hope you enjoy these photos and it gives you the inspiration to enjoy nature and respect the countryside in the same way I do.