Grid ref: TQ 517 965 (click for o/s map)
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This area of common land surrounds Willow Cottage, with an open-air theatre nearby. Although the M25 is audible not far away, once there you could be in another age, when horses were the main form of transport.
In the north it is open grassland with clumps of dense scrub and scattered oaks, grazed by horses. The soils are a mixture of London clay and chalky boulder clay, in places damp, elsewhere dry, and as a result it supports some unusual plants, including betony, lesser spearwort, pepper saxifrage and sneezewort.
As you walk south the trees become denser, consisting mainly of mature oaks with a scattering of hornbeam, hawthorn and holly, and with a brook running through them. In spring and summer the woods are full of speckled wood butterflies.
Access from the north via Albyns lane, which leaves the roundabout where the B175 joins the A113, about a mile east of Abridge; or via footpaths and byroads from the minor road between Stapleford Abbotts and Navestock Heath. Parking is difficult, so either get someone to drop you off or walk or cycle in. SatNav: RM4 1HP.
Accessible at all times.
May for early flowers and birdsong in the woods; July–August for meadow flowers and insects.
The paths are used heavily by horses, so are pockmarked and rutted: wear good boots and beware wet patches in winter.