The 23.5 hectares (58 acres) of land at Pigneys Wood was purchased in 1993 by the North Norfolk Community Woodland Trust (NNCWT, a community based conservation charity) and it has been managed by them for the past 24 years. NNCWT successfully reverted the site from arable land to woodland by planting over 20,000 trees of 40 different species during this time as well as restoring important wetland areas and improving the access and interpretation of the site for local people by providing guided trails.
The site has a number of special wildlife features including an impressive 450-year-old ancient oak tree ‘the Old Oak’ which is next to a small woodland area which boasts a carpet of bluebells in spring.
Pigneys Wood provides an important wildlife refuge for many birds such as the goldcrest, nuthatch, Cetti’s Warbler; insects such as red admiral, peacock and holly blue butterflies; dragonflies such as the emperor, migrant hawker, blacktailed skimmer and Norfolk hawker, and mammals such as otter, water vole and badger. Occasionally rarer visitors have been recorded such as a Camberwell beauty butterfly in November 2011 and a bittern in March 2013.
In September 2017, Pigneys Wood was entrusted to Norfolk Wildlife Trust to continue the conservation management of this wildlife-rich nature reserve. NWT aims to build on NNCWT’s work by further enhancing the range of habitats present as well as improving the visitor experience to encourage more people to enjoy the wildlife on this special site.