Norsey Woods

It’s been a hot bank holiday Monday, which quite frankly in the U.K. is unheard of. Usually if there’s a long weekend to be had, it’s raining, or there’s the tale end of a hurricane that’s blowing a gale, or there’s a freak snow storm…I think you get my drift (ha…snow storm…drift…). Today was glorious. Bright beaming sunshine and 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit if you’re that way inclined). So, on this rather splendid day I decided to get all outdoorsy as I can without a doubt say by the end of next week there will probably see some kind of rain bomb that will hit and I will need a canoe to get anywhere.

Norsey Woods is a ancient woodlands tucked away behind the town of Billericay in Essex. I used to walk here a lot growing up, but haven’t visited this little peaceful spot in quite some time, so decided to change that.

This is now a 67.2 hectare of SSSI (site of special scientific interest). It’s a nature reserve and a scheduled monument (meaning that it is a nationally important archaeological site). There is a rare species of rare water violet that grows here and you can find 9 species of dragon fly buzzing around if you time your visit right.

This site is an ancient oak woodlands, and you can see mixed English and American oak together, along with sweet chestnut coppice. At this time of year you can see varieties of brittlegill fungi growing on the woodland floor while squirrels chase above your head.

I could literally spend hours walking around this beautifully peaceful site taking photos. If you wander far enough in you can see the remains of dig sites where items from the Bronze Age and Iron Age have been found. There is also a roman cemetery and a medieval deer bank.

But today I was just enjoying nature, the dappled sunlight through the trees and the beautiful colours which where on display.

I really love the bug life in this place, the floor is teeming with wood ants and there are spiders in abundance, while I’m scared of spiders they are endlessly fascinating and their webs create delicate silken covers on branches which gently dance in the sunlight.

There are visual treasures all around this place.

So while I know this isn’t about a film or an art installation, or something peculiar I have read, this is just a brief reminder that there is beauty right outside your front door. Get out and find a place you haven’t been to recently, relive the moments and look, and I mean really look, all around you, as the drudge of daily life can be hard and overwhelming, and it’s so easy to forget that there is much more than turning up to your job or being the person that everyone expects you to be.

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