Bicknacre Lanes and Woods
A circuit via ancient woods and green lanes
Spring or summer
Songbirds in the woods and hedgerows; wild flowers along green lanes and some field edges.
Some paths cross arable fields that may be ploughed; muddy paths in wet weather.
Park at entrance to Thrift Wood on Main Road (B1418) or at Horseshoe Nurseries, White Elm Road, by kind permission of the manager (turn right along White Elm Road to join the walk at B)
Gently undulating terrain mostly along well-defined unsurfaced green lanes and footpaths, with a few stiles; two short sections along quiet roads.
Click on a marker on the map for route details
Stage AB: Thrift Wood to White Elm Road
From the entrance to Thrift Wood off Main Road (B1418), take the loose-surfaced track that runs half-left, and keep on it until you reach the bridleway that runs along its north-east fringe. Turn left on to the bridleway and after 50m right as you meet another. This track runs between hedgerows separating it from the arable fields around, emerging on to White Elm Road.
Stage BC: White Elm Road to Hackmans Lane
Turn right on to White Elm Road and then immediately right again into Slough Road, following it for 600m past Oakwood Cottage and then Slough House Wood. Take a footpath that turns off on the right just beyond the wood, soon coming to a stile into a meadow with a clipped hedge of field maple and hawthorn on your right, then over a second stile into an arable field. Follow the grassy track along the edge of this field, turning right in front of a row of oaks, then back a short way to find a plank bridge over the ditch, then left to resume the original direction, soon joining a broad ditch and a hedgerow on your left. The path meets the road – Hackmans Lane – running parallel to it for a while then joining it via a gate.
Stage CD: Charity Lane
Turn right on Hackmans Lane and follow it for 400m past kennels and sheep pastures on your right, then take the footpath leaving on the right opposite Corporation Farm. This leads across the pastures with a fence and then a hedge on your right. Passing a house on your left, bear left through the gate alongside the hedge and ahead you will see the gate into Charity Lane, a track bounded on both sides by ancient hedgerows. Follow it to its end just beyond Cank Wood, an ancient hornbeam coppice wood on the right.
Stage DE: Cank Wood to Old Salt Road
Turn right on to the footpath just beyond Cank Wood, running first along its southern edge then beside a ditch. Crossing a farm track, follow the path along the edge of an arable field with a hedge on your left. Where a tall hedge joins from the right, turn left through the hedge and follow the hedge on your right until you come out on to a track bounded by tall hedges of oak, ash and hornbeam. Turn left and follow it past farm buildings then a wood on your right, until just before it meets the road.
Stage EA: Old Salt Road back to Thrift Wood
Just before the track meets the road a footpath turns off on the right, a broad grassy track running alongside arable fields with a hedge on the left. Across on the right you can see several patches of ancient woodland, some ancient hedgerows and a small pond full of willows. You are on the Old Salt Road, once used to transport salt mined from the River Crouch. Up ahead you can see Thrift Wood. A short way after you reach it, via a broad grassy area with a loose hedge on your right, you come to an entrance on your left. From here follow the surfaced track more or less straight through the wood and back to the entrance on Main Road.