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Hockley Woods, Hockley

#1 of 7 in Things to do in Hockley
Must see · Outdoor Activity
Hockley Woods is a large woodland in South-east Essex; it is also a Local Nature Reserve, and parts are a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is owned and managed by Rochford District Council.
Hockley Woods are the largest residual area of the wild wood, which covered much of Essex after the Ice Age, 10,000 years ago. Hockley Woods comprise several contiguous named woods including: Great Bull Wood, Great Hawkwell Wood, Beeches Wood, Winks Wood, Little Bull Wood, Whitbred's Wood and Parson's Snipe. Hockley woods extend over parts of the parishes of Hockley, Hawkwell and Rayleigh. The size of Hockley Woods is variously given as 130 hectares, 109 hectares and 91.3 hectares, although the latter is the SSSI only.

The woods are on pre-glacial gravels and clay. The wooded areas are an intricate mosaic of various trees, every species developing under appropriate conditions. Oak and sweet chestnut develop on the higher ground; birch on the most acidic soils; hornbeam on the wet soils; willow, and hazel along the streams. Other trees include pedunculate oak, sessile oak and birch. Ground flora include three species of orchid, and there is a stream and area of bog. Other species include the wild service tree, wood anemone, wood spurge and cow wheat that develop on the undisturbed soils of old woods. The protected heath fritillary butterfly is common on the site.
Hockley Woods continue to be coppiced and used for timber. It is also the location for Hockley Woods parkrun, a free, weekly, timed 5km running event held every Saturday at 9am.
Access to the wooded areas is unrestricted; there is a bus stop on Main Road (SS5 4RN), and also a car park, the site has public toilets. The car park is open from 7am until 6.30pm. A brochure is available from the Council Offices.

The woods are said to be haunted by two ghosts. Silas was said to be friendly, while the other entity was accompanied by a feeling of cold which upset the family dog. This ghost is said to have been so friendly that the family dog would run up to the sounds wagging its tail. Another tale states that the ghost of Anne Boleyn has been seen without her head walking the corridors of the house.
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  • cycling in hockley woods is not allowed.this morning nearly run down by stupid cyclists racing round blind bend.  more »
  • Hockley woods are stunning with the sun shinning through the tops the of the trees . It’s amazing how many people were in there enjoying the walks / bike rides and even horse riders . The woods have.....  more »
  • Beautiful woodland environment well marked trials , kids playground , toilets and a park run on a Saturday morning.
  • Do love a walk in the woods! Make sure you kids dont run off ahead..
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