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Hatters Wood

Hatters Wood is a remnant of ancient woodland that once covered much of the area now known as Essex, The ancient woodland indicator trees species present are Hornbeam, Oak, Ash, Field Maple, Hawthorn, Holly, Wild Service Tree, Wild Cherry and Rowan. More recent introductions include, Beech, Horse Chestnut, Sweet Chestnut, Sycamore, Cherry Laurel, Turkey Oak, and Holm Oak.

Below that the ground flora is characteristic of ancient woodland with Bluebell, Lesser Celandine, several species of Violet, Dogs Mercury and Wood Anemone dominating.


Up towards the Priory several introduced species are naturalised, Snowdrop, Spring Snowflake and Spring Squill can be seen in early Spring and Greater Periwinkle throughout spring and early summer. Scarcer plants such as Butchers Broom and Primrose can also seen.

In the great storm of 1987 all of the park's woodlands suffered considerable damage, go to Hatters Wood damage

In Hatters wood, (2002) Nuthatches, Tree Creepers as well as all three British Woodpeckers can be found. Hawfinches used to breed in the wood but sadly no longer. In winter if you get up early and are lucky enough you may well flush a Woodcock. Amongst the summer visitors, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs can still be heard singing. The first Butterflies to appear each year will be the hibernators such as the Peacock and Tortoiseshell and the most striking of these the sulphur yellow coloured Brimstone. A little later you will often see the yellow and brown Speckled Wood.

Quarles Pond

We have called it the Quarles Pond for convenience (Quarles School was at one time very close by, the Quarles buildings are currently (2012) an annexe to a technical College. The Two pictures below were taken by Dave Sampson in the 1990's. The pond is situated in the north west corner of Hatters Wood and over the last 50 years the habitat has varied greatly. At times being virtually dry for years on end and very much overshaded. In the last couple of decades some conservation work has been carried out. These are spring photos with good water levels.

Mud Hill Pond in 2000 by Jim Spencer
This set of four pictures of the Quarles Pond were taken by Don Tait in March 2012