Foxley Wood, photo by Richard Osbourne 2/4
Foxley Wood, photo by Richard Osbourne 3/4
Foxley Wood, photo by Richard Osbourne 4/4

Foxley Wood

In early spring pale yellow primroses peek out from the banks of ditches, a prelude to the riot of colour to follow in mid/late April to early May (varying year to year), when bluebells carpet the woodland floor.

Other interesting woodland plants and wildflowers such as dog’s mercury, greater butterfly orchid, wood anemone, wild garlic and herb-paris can also be found, as well as the locally scarce wild service-tree. In total over 350 flowering plant species have been recorded.

Many of the common woodland birds can be seen with patience in Foxley Wood including green and great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, treecreeper, marsh tit and jay. Common summer visitors such as blackcap, garden warbler, chiffchaff, and willow warbler occur, and declining species such as turtle dove, grasshopper warbler, and spotted flycatcher may also sometimes show themselves. Tawny owls are resident, and barn owls occasionally hunt along the wood’s wide rides. Birds of prey include sparrowhawk and kestrel, with rarer visitors including hobby and common buzzard.

Foxley Wood is a hotspot for butterflies including white admiral, meadow brown, speckled wood, ringlet, purple hairstreak and silver-washed fritillary.

Spring is a favourite time to visit Foxley Wood but there are other  times of the year which can provide wildlife spectacles to excite the senses. By mid-summer displays of meadow sweet along some of the woodland rides attract hover flies in large numbers to the scented “candyfloss” flowers, creating a background hum to a midday walk. Other rides carry vast displays of fleabane which attract huge numbers of butterflies (particularly meadow browns and gate keepers). By late summer the sound of dark bush crickets calling in the taller vegetation reaches a crescendo on warm balmy afternoons. If the autumn season is not too dry displays of fungi can appear rapidly overnight, before succumbing to the first frosts. Look for honey fungus around the base of tree boles, especially after the extensive network of rides has been mown.


Wild service-tree
One of the least known of the UK’s native trees, the wild service-tree is easily overlooked for most of the year. However, in late spring it becomes covered with white blossom, and in  late autumn its leaves turn a brilliant coppery-red. The brown berries were once a staple food; bitter until softened by frost, they are said to possess hints of apricot, damson and sultana.
White admiral
This butterfly has a delicately patterned black-and-white upperwing and mottled orange-and-white underwing. It is generally on the wing from July to the end of August. NWT’s management of Foxley Wood favours the growth of brambles, the white admiral’s main source of nectar, and honeysuckle, its larval food plant.

Travelling on the Fakenham Road (A1067) from Norwich towards Fakenham, follow the brown sign, turn right onto The Street, Foxley – follow this road for 2km (1.3 miles) where the car park entrance will be on the right. The site can be wet or muddy underfoot, particularly during bluebell time due to the number of visitors in early spring.
Note: Foxley Wood is closed every Thursday for important habitat management works.
Birds - Nuthatch, treecreeper, great spotted woodpecker, green woodpecker
Plants - bluebell, dog’s mercury, early purple orchid, herb-paris, lily of the valley, water avens

Birds - Blackcap, garden warbler, willow warbler, chiffchaff, common whitethroat, jay
Plants -  Herb-paris, meadowsweet, water avens, fleabane
Insects - White admiral, meadow brown, purple hairstreak, dark bush cricket

Trees - Oak, field maple, wild service-tree, small-leaved lime, Midland hawthorn

Birds - Sparrowhawk, tawny owl, woodcock
Trees - Oak, field maple, wild service-tree, small-leaved lime, Midland hawthorn



Post code
NR20 4QR
Map reference
OS Landranger 133
Grid reference
TG 049 229
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