A short extract from a wonderful documentary with Robert Macfarlane: The Other Side of Essex – Unexpected Wilderness Here
Hatfield is owned by the National Trust is the only remaining intact Royal Hunting Forest and dates from the time of the Norman kings. The great forest expert Oliver Rackham wrote in his book about the Forest entitled The Last Forest (1976) that: “Hatfield is of supreme interest in that all the elements of a medieval Forest survive: deer, cattle, coppice woods, pollards, scrub, timber trees, grassland and fen …. As such it is almost certainly unique in England and possibly in the world …….The Forest owes very little to the last 250 years ….. Hatfield is the only place where one can step back into the Middle Ages to see, with only a small effort of the imagination, what a Forest looked like in use.” Read
Britain first bug reserve
Originally a coastal grazing marsh and briefly an undeveloped oil refinery site. Canvey Wick is Britain’s first Bug Reserve. The reserve is run by Buglife and has been described as “a brownfield rainforest”, as it supports as many species per square metre as a rainforest – more than 1,400 invertebrates, making Canvey Wick one of the most important sites in Britain for endangered invertebrate species , second only in number to the strange promontory of Dungeness in Kent. This ex-industrial site is so rich because it has such a range of micro-habitats: wet reedy areas, marshy floods, ditches, ponds, sallow carr, bramble patches, sparsely vegetated gravels, sandy banks, dry grassland, wet grassland and bare concrete.