22 July 2019
A picture of Ancient woodland to be preserved in Hockley

An ancient woodland in the Essex village of Hockley is to be bestowed to the people of Rochford by Sanctuary Housing.

Sanctuary Housing will be ceremonially passing on ownership of the area in Hockley Woods to Rochford District Council later in the year, for use by the local community, as part of its new £17.5 million development in the village.

Sanctuary originally purchased the area of woodland as part of its housing development plans on the site of the former Bullwood Hall Prison, where it is building 72 new homes.

The area of woodland is part of Hockley Woods, spanning around 17 acres - approximately the size of eight football pitches - which is known for its rich wildlife and habitats.

Situated opposite the development site, Hockley Woods spans an area of over 130 hectares in total and are the largest remaining area of the wild wood, which covered Essex after the Ice Age 10,000 years ago.

A wide range of different trees adorn the woods, including English oak, sweet chestnut, birch, hornbeam, willow, hazel and ash. Access to the woods is unrestricted and parts are sites of special scientific interest.

Sanctuary has been serving the people of Rochford since 2007 and manages 2,000 homes in the district.

Craig Moule, Group Chief Executive, said: “What we hear loud and clear from our residents throughout the district of Rochford is that one of the best things about it is the close proximity to the beautiful Essex countryside.

“It gives us great pleasure to bestow this tranquil area of English woodland back to the people of Rochford and for it to be preserved in perpetuity for all to use.

“We look forward to the formal handing over ceremony later in the year.”

Sanctuary’s new development, known as Bullwood Gardens, will provide properties ranging from one-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom family houses, for outright sale, affordable rent and shared ownership. It is due to be completed by the autumn of 2022.

For more information about the new homes being developed, visit www.beechgrovehomes.co.uk/developments/bullwood-gardens.