With its location to the northwest of Norwich, and containing many good-sized towns and numerous villages, the North Norfolk Woods Living Landscape is easily accessible to a large population of people. As well as several NWT nature reserves within the area, there are numerous other important places for wildlife including County Wildlife Sites, various Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), and a number of publicly accessible areas of common land.
The area includes four NWT woodland nature reserves: NWT Foxley Wood, Norfolk’s largest ancient woodland; NWT Thursford Wood, with its impressive collection of veteran oak trees; NWT Honeypot Wood, with its rich WWII history, and the recently acquired NWT Brett’s Wood, a former conifer plantation.
At 123 hectares, Foxley
is Norfolk's largest remaining ancient woodland, and a firm favourite with visiting families. In early spring pale yellow primroses peek out from the banks of ditches, a prelude to the riot of colour to follow a few weeks later when bluebells carpet the woodland floor. Other interesting woodland plants and wildflowers are found, as well as many species of birds and butterflies. Indeed, Foxley is also a great place to listen to the dawn chorus of spring songbirds – as long as you don't mind getting up very early.
Just outside Fakenham, the 10-hectare Thursford Wood
may be small in size but contains some of the oldest oak trees in the county – some may be more than 500 years old. Thursford also has an excellent selection of wildflowers, summer ferns and autumn fungi. Good numbers of common woodland birds are present.
NWT Honeypot Wood
, 6 km west of East Dereham, is a delightful reserve with a wealth of history and character. Thought to be a remnant of wild wood dating back to the retreat of the last Ice Age, its more recent history includes a period of distinguished service in World War II, when RAF Wendling used buildings on the site as a bomb dump. Today the wood has good numbers of orchids and is excellent for displays of fungi and leaf colour in autumn.
Brett's Wood, close to Thursford, is one of NWT's newest reserves, having been purchased in 2010 with a large donation from a private woodland trust. A former, decades-old conifer plantation, the site offers an exciting opportunity for woodland restoration.
There are many other local nature reserves that are readily accessible to visitors – for instance near Fakenham is the NOA’s Hempton Marsh, and the impressive Hawk and Owl Trust reserve at Sculthorpe. Around other towns and villages in the area are many other excellent wildlife areas – take a walk or a bike ride and explore them!