The whole wood is 73 hectares of which 25ha are owned and managed by Essex County Council. The remaining 48ha are owned and maintained by the Forestry Commission. It is accessible to the public at all times.
The wood has probably been in existence since the last Ice Age. Having developed over 10,000 years it is rich in both history and wildlife. Within the wood there are the remnants of a medieval woodbank and a Roman trackway.
The main method of management for at least the last 400 years has been coppicing - this continues in the wood today. Coppicing involves the periodic felling of trees from different areas of the wood and then allowing the cut stumps to regrow to be harvested in the future. The plan is to coppice the whole wood on a 25 year cycle. The first cycle completed under County Council ownership was finished early 1999.
The different stages of coppice regrowth provide a rich diversity of wildlife for which the wood is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. One of the most obvious benefits of this management is the wonderful display of bluebells and wood anemones in the spring. Also listen out for Nightingales as they sing from the cover of thick undergrowth and the many other woodland birds that can be seen and heard throughout the year.
How to find Chalkney wood Landranger Grid reference TL 874274 Map