NWT Lower Wood, Ashwellthorpe an ancient woodland, recorded in the Domesday Book, is particularly noted for large oak trees.
Coppicing – a traditional form of woodland management that encourages growth by repeatedly cutting back young stems to near ground level – has encoraged a rich ground flora.
Alongside the bluebells that carpet the understorey in spring, wild garlic is also common. Other plants include wood anemone, wood spurge, herb-paris, twayblade, and a profusion of early purple orchids. More than 200 species of fungi have been recorded.
Butterflies are well represented, including white admiral. A number of common mammals occur including red, roe and muntjac deer, and of course grey squirrel (like many Norfolk woodlands, red squirrel could still be found in Lower Wood up to the 1970s, though sadly no more).
Wild garlic is also known as ramsons. These pretty but pungent white flowers favour damper, shadier corners making a beautiful contrast to the colour of the bluebells.
Swathes of bluebells flowing across the woodland floor are an iconic part of Britain’s natural history, and Norfolk is fortunate
in having several sites where this
fantastic spectacle can be enjoyed
– Lower Wood, Ashwellthorpe among them. In an average year bluebells will flower from mid to late April until the first two to three weeks of May.
NWT Lower Wood, Ashwellthorpe lies 4.8km (3 miles) to the south east of Wymondham and 14.5km (9 miles) west of Norwich. Entrance to the site and car park is in the centre of the village off The Street, following a track between two houses. There is a wooden telegraph pole at the track entrance. The car park is open daily 9am – 5pm. Access on foot from the road outside these hours.