Foxley enclave, photo by Nik Khandpur

Extension to Norfolk’s largest ancient wood to take root


Friday 27 November, 2020


An arable field next to Norfolk’s largest ancient wood will be restored to its native woodland history, as a generous donation enables purchase by Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

During lockdown Norfolk Wildlife Trust has been in the process of securing this crucial area of land, which is 5.2 hectares (12.8 acres). The newly purchased field has been a missing piece of Foxley Wood for at least a thousand years, and being surrounded by ancient woodland on three sides provides a rare opportunity to re-establish specialist woodland species. 

At 124 hectares, Foxley Wood is one of Norfolk’s richest woodlands for native plants, from the rare wild service tree to the beautiful greater butterfly orchid. In spring it is carpeted with the blooms of bluebells, early purple orchids and wood anemones, giving way to summer displays of common spotted orchids, fleabane and water avens. Many of the common woodland birds can be seen including green and great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, treecreeper, willow warbler and jay. It is also a hotspot for butterflies including white admiral, speckled wood, ringlet, purple hairstreak and silver-washed fritillary. 

Last year experts confirmed the purple emperor butterfly had returned to the wood – once its stronghold in the county – nearly 50 years after it was declared extinct in Norfolk. 

Nature Conservation Manager, Steve Collin said: “This new area of land is perfectly placed for us to expand Foxley Wood and give more space for wildlife. It will be restored to woodland habitat with native trees and plants, providing home and food for the wood’s birds and butterflies. It is likely to also provide foraging habitat for bats and hunting grounds for birds of prey. In the future we will look to add trails for visitors to enjoy and to create space for education groups.”

Director of Development and Engagement at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Nik Khandpur added: “Foxley Wood is one of our most popular nature reserves, not only with our members but also the wider public in Norfolk. This exciting next step for Foxley has been made possible by anonymous support specifically to help protect this ancient woodland.  It was quite an incredible and moving gift to receive for the good of wildlife and enjoyment of people in Norfolk.” 

 

Foxley Wood: ancient and rare

Foxley Wood is a National Nature Reserve, mentioned in the Domesday book, and contains both precious and rare habitat. It suffered 30 years as a conifer plantation, before it was acquired by NWT in the 1980s, with further acquisitions in 1991 and 1992. 

Between 1995 and 2004 the planted conifers were gradually removed and without planting a single tree these damaged areas have been reborn through natural regeneration of trees. Survival of the seed bank has restored much of the woodland ground flora under the planted conifers and the ancient woodland habitat restored. 

Large ancient woodlands cover less than 2% of the UK today. 80% of Britain’s ancient woods are smaller than 50 acres and fewer than 500 on the scale of Foxley survive nationally.
Share this

Top news stories

2021-01-11 Very bad news for bees warns N Very bad news for bees warns Norfolk Wildlife Trust
Monday 11 January, 2021
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is alarmed to learn the Government has agreed the use of a highly damaging pesticide - neonico...
2020-12-23 Closed until further notice Closed until further notice
Wednesday 23 December, 2020
Update: 8 January 2021 All NWT car parks and reserves currently remain open, except Ranworth Broad car park which is...
2020-12-10 NWT receives grant of £166,600 NWT receives grant of £166,600 from the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund
Thursday 10 December, 2020
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is one of the first environmental projects awarded a grant from the government’s £...
2020-12-09 Killer shrimp discovered in Tr Killer shrimp discovered in Trinity Broads
Wednesday 09 December, 2020
The non-native killer shrimp, which arrived in the UK from Europe in 2010, has been confirmed in the Trinity Broads b...
2020-12-01 Western Link threatens probabl Western Link threatens probable largest barbastelle bat colony in UK 
Tuesday 01 December, 2020
If the Western Link for the NDR were to go ahead on its proposed route, it would drive through what is likely to be t...
2020-11-27 Extension to Norfolk’s largest Extension to Norfolk’s largest ancient wood to take root
Friday 27 November, 2020
An arable field next to Norfolk’s largest ancient wood will be restored to its native woodland history, as a ge...
2020-11-26 The Wildlife Trusts welcome Li The Wildlife Trusts welcome Liz Bonnin as new president 
Thursday 26 November, 2020
Broadcaster and biologist, Liz Bonnin was elected as president of The Wildlife Trusts today. The first woman to take ...
2020-11-24 Conservation partnership to cr Conservation partnership to create Healthy Hedgerows
Tuesday 24 November, 2020
Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Norfolk Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group have come together to promote the value of o...
2020-11-19 Sydney Long Medal awarded to c Sydney Long Medal awarded to county fungi recorder
Thursday 19 November, 2020
Norfolk's most prestigious award for naturalists, the Sydney Long Memorial Medal has been awarded to Dr Tony Leec...
2020-11-18 Cley Calling Remotely: Chris P Cley Calling Remotely: Chris Packham to headline NWT's new events season online
Wednesday 18 November, 2020
Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin will kick off Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s New Year programme of wildlife discussi...
2020-11-03 Norfolk Wildlife Trust to clos Norfolk Wildlife Trust to close visitor centres
Tuesday 03 November, 2020
The visitor centres at Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves will close this week in line with the Governmen...
2020-10-29 NWT launches ambitious land pu NWT launches ambitious land purchase appeal
Thursday 29 October, 2020
One of the Brecks’ most important nature reserves could be expanded, protecting its rare wildlife and habitats ...