Review: Visiting Norsey Woods, Billericay, with Children

Norsey Woods is around 170 acres of woodland, owned and managed by Basildon District Council in Essex. It is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Local Nature Reserve.  The woodland in Billericay has a variety of animal and plant life including beautiful bluebells in the Spring.  The woodland continues to be managed through coppicing of the Sweet Chestnut trees. 

The woods have signs of ancient occupation including two Bronze Age burial mounds, one of which is still visible and there have also been numerous archaeological findings on the site. Some of the current paths and ridges are believed to be earthworks dating back to the Iron Age. There are also trenches dating from the First and Second World War where it formed part of the Inner London Defence Line. You can read more about the history here

Picnic tables in Woodland at Norsey Woods Billericay
Visiting Norsey Woods in Billericay

Visiting Norsey Woods 

Why Norsey Woods is a good place to visit with children

  • There are several paths and two different length trails to explore making it interesting for children. 
  • There are several picnic areas, including an undercover area, so it's a good place for picnics. 
  • There are bug hotels and bird boxes near picnic tables so you can see the wildlife up close.
  • You might be lucky enough to see some of the interesting wildlife in the woods including deer and woodpeckers as well as newts in the ponds.
  • There are streams to play in and dens to build.
A child sitting in a coppiced tree at Norsey Woods
Playing in trees at Norsey Woodlands

What is there to do at Norsey Woods?

Grab a flask, find an entrance and walk your way round until you find the picnic benches, stop for a snack and a cuppa and find your way back again. 

The Norsey Woods Trail (starting at the car park) is about 2km long and marked by way markers with numbers on which are fun for children to spot. Some parts of the route are steep as you head into valleys, but there are seats along the route if little legs (or bigger ones) get tired.

The 1km Easy Access Trail should take you near to the bluebells.

What age children will enjoy visiting Norsey Woods?

All ages will enjoy a visit, especially those who like a woodland walk come rain or shine - jumping in puddles or watching the sun peak through the trees.

Is it suitable for pushchairs?

The Easy Access Trail is pushchair accessible and about 1km. The main trail has some steep parts and the car park can get muddy making it harder work with a buggy so if you want to walk further a sling might be an easier choice.

Norsey Woods undercover picnic area
An undercover picnic area at Norsey Woods

What you need to know before visiting Norsey Woods

  • The woods are accessible 24/7, but the car park is closed at night. 
  • There are toilets at the main entrance including a disabled toilet (RADAR key required). We haven’t seen any baby changing facilities. 
  • There is no shop or cafe, but at weekends there is normally a coffee van. Pantry Phoebes who were previously located here have now moved to Compass Gardens in South Woodham Ferrers, but it is expected that they will be replaced by another provider.
  • You can download a map of Norsey Woods here which includes the trail routes.

Is It Dog Friendly?

Yes the woods are dog friendly. They ask that dogs stay away from one of the picnic areas, but there is another one behind the toilet block that dogs can go into.

What To Take With You When Visiting

  • Wellies, particularly in the winter months as paths can be muddy. 
  • Food and drink if visiting on a weekday.

Toilets at Norsey Wood
Toilets at Norsey Woods

How To Get To Norsey Woods and Where To Park

Address: Outwood Common Road, Billericay CM11 1HA

The main entrance is easily found on Outwood Common Road, the other pedestrian entrances are on Break Egg Hill, Norsey Close, Deerbank and Norsey Road (opposite Lilford Road), some of which aren’t convenient to park on and get children out.


There is free parking off Outwood Common Road. The car park is open 6:00 am to 8.30 pm April 1st to October 31st and 6 am to 6.30 pm November 1st to 31st March. It isn't a large car park so you might need to wait for a space at busy times.

Norsey Woods car park and sign
A visit to Norsey Woods

What To Do Nearby Norsey Woods

There are plenty of places to head to in Billericay before or after visiting the woods including cafes, restaurants and playgrounds. Worth checking out is nearby Lake Meadows Park which has recently renovated their playground. It is a small playground, but it has lots of play equipment. 

Norsey Woods is near Hanningfield Reservoir and the Wind In The Willow Trail at the Visitors Centre (7 minutes drive) and the Waterside Park and playground (10 minutes drive).

Marsh Farm and Call of the Wild Zoo are both about 20 minutes drive away.

Photographs and recommendations by Nicki who can be found on Instagram as @TravelHacksWithKids

No comments

Thanks for your comment (unless it's spam in which case, why?)