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West Wood extends from the high ground of Daws Heath down to the valley of the Prittle Brook.
For at least two hundred years the wood belonged to the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral and was managed as a coppice woodland. Coppicing is a traditional form of woodland management when trees are cut down, allowed to re-grow, then cut down again every 10 - 30 years.
The modern wood shows the influence not only of this traditional management but also of the changing soil conditions from valley floor to hill top.
West Wood is owned by Castle Point Borough Council. There is free access through the wood and a woodland walk has been waymarked. Cottage Plantation is privately owned.
West Wood is managed under licence by the Castle Point Wildlife Group. The group is working in partnership with Castle Point Borough Council in order to implement the West Wood Management Plan. To see a copy of the management plan please click on the link given at the bottom of the page.
A map of 1750 shows that the boundary of the wood has barely changed for two centuries .
During these two centuries the wood has been actively managed; few if any trees in the wood today were present then but many of the coppice stools survive having been cut down and re-grown many times since.
West Wood was the westernmost of a group of woods in south-east Essex owned by the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral, the other woods included Hadleigh Great Wood and Belfairs.
Access from Rayleigh Road, Thundersley.