Hempstead in Essex
Resting place of William Harvey and Sir Eliab Harvey and birthplace of Dick Turpin

Local Woods

The woods nearest Hempstead village are:

  • Hempstead Wood
  • Little Bendysh Wood (Radwinter)
  • Spain’s Wood (just outside Hempstead in Finchingfield)
  • Rowney Wood (Wimbish)
  • West Wood
  • Hempstead Wood

Hempstead Wood

A privately owned, 190 acre ancient woodland believed to be 10,000 years old and second only in age to Hatfield Forest. It contains a good mix of broad leaf trees, clearings, some Scots Pine and a few ponds. The Forestry Commission have removed most of the Scots Pine in recent years as it reached maturity. It will not be re-planted but indigenous broad leaf will replace it. The wood has some specimens of the rare Oxlip but expanding populations of at least four types of deer have caused extensive damage to the oxlips and the under-storey of the wood generally. Some culling has been effected.

The only path the general public can use is on the southern boundary. The interior of the wood is private property.

Little Bendysh Wood

This wood has public footpaths to its north and western flanks and one path running directly across it. Access is from footpaths off the Radwinter –Ashdon Road or via the northern side. The Forestry Commission have removed extensive quantities of Scots Pine from this wood and large areas are now in a period of re-generation. Several deer species Are present, and a good range of wild flowers grow at the edges of the central ‘ride’.

Spain’s Wood

Equestrian riders will be particularly interested in this wood. Whilst it is a private wood belonging to Spain’s Hall, it contains 12 miles of excellent riding tracks which are accessible through the payment of a fee. See http://www.rural-estates.co.uk/spains-hall-estate/horse-riding-on-the-spains-hall-estate/

Rowney Wood

Owned by the forestry commission, this wood has a lovely public footpath through it off the Harcamlow Way. It is a favourite dog-walking area for the local residents of Elder Street Wimbish. Mature Scots Pine is being removed so areas of this wood are re-generating to native species.

West Wood

This small 58 acre wood is highly regarded, containing some of the best wild flowers, orchids and butterflies in a setting of mixed deciduous woodland. Off road parking is available from the B1051, a circular walking path is clearly visible inside and one bridleway cuts across the wood.

This link may also be useful: http://www.uttlesford-wildlife.org.uk/sites.html