Chapel Street entrance - Wantsfield
Welcome to Mill Meadows. You are now standing in Wantsfield. The name has its roots back to at least 1593 when it was named ‘Wantefelde’. ‘
Want’ or ‘Went’ meant a way or road and so it may have been named after the track that ran from here to Greens Farmhouse which is evident on old maps.
Getting your bearings
On your right
You will see a hedgerow that borders Southend Road. This hedge is often busy with House Sparrows which nest in the nearby buildings.
Part way along hedge is the cattle pen where the Red Poll cattle, which graze Mill Meadows, are rounded up for treatments and for moving to other sites. There is also a cattle drinking trough. Part of the hedge near the pen has been layered professionally in recent years.
On your left
There are a large dense holly bushes on the boundary of a private garden. In early winter, Redwings often feed on the holly berries. The land slopes into a boggy area and woodland.
In the field are scattered spreading oak trees with broad crowns which the cattle use for shelter on warm days.
The main trail through Mill Meadows bears left through the grass. In late summer or autumn look for bright red toadstools (Fly Agaric) in this field.
Follow the waymarks to get to the next field, Coles, where the view opens and you can see the valley of the River Crouch as it runs towards Wickford. The other end of the hedgerow that divides the two fields has been partly coppiced. It will re-grow and become denser, providing food and cover for insects and birds.
As the path continues through Coles there is wooded area on the left which contains some veteran trees.