An old fashioned, but very fun way to spend a morning with the children this half term is to go sweet chestnut harvesting in some traditional woodland. The RSPB Reserve at Stour Wood near Manningtree is an excellent spot for such adventures.
The woodland is managed by Rick Vonk who works for the RSPB. He recommends the woodland as being a great place to collect sweet chestnuts. There are more than enough for all the visitors that the woodland sees, with many people taking whole bags of nuts home with them.
However, this year there has not been much rainfall in Essex, which means that the nuts have not filled out as much as they should to reach their full sweet potential.
Chestnut Festival at RSPB Stour Estuary Nature Reserve
“Weather permitting we will be in the car park one or two days during the week. Free guided walks, hot drinks and roast chestnuts. Come and celebrate the glory of Stour Wood. No need to book.”
The woodland is not natural, but very old. It is thought that the Romans felled the previous lime wood and planted sweet chestnuts during their occupation 2000 years ago. Whether they planted the sweet chestnuts for human consumption or animal fodder is not known now, but they are there for the taking this autumn.
- RSPB Stour Estuary Nature Reserve
- Harwich Road, Wrabness, Essex, CO12 5ND