Which of Suffolk’s woodlands are your favourite?
Suffolk Wildlife Trust has been encouraging people to explore its woodland reserves to mark the 40th anniversary of National Tree Week.
The celebration, first held in 1975, is a chance for communities to do something positive for their local treescape and launches the start of the winter tree planting season.
But the event is also a chance to think about the trees that make Suffolk so special – from the spectacular veteran trees, to the coppices that give us a tangible link to how our ancestors used the land.
The county’s mature woodland is home to a wide cross section of wildlife, including scarce flowers such as oxlips and forming a stronghold for dormice.
Even trees that are damaged or dead are worth celebrating, providing important habitats for birds, insects and fungi.
Here are just five of Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s woodland reserves worth visiting.
There are few places in Suffolk (or the rest of the country for that matter) where it is possible to walk for a mile or so through continuous broad-leaved woodland and even fewer that combine a cultural history as fascinating as Bradfield Woods.
The evidence of centuries of woodland management is all around. Great wood banks and ditches mark the boundaries and huge coppice stools up to four metres in diameter record a history of coppicing extending back 1,000 years.
Bradfield also boasts an unrivalled botanical richness with 350 or so plants, including almost every tree species native to East Anglia together with many rare plants.
The woodland remains the most extensive in lowland Britain that is still coppiced on a large scale.
Tucked away along a farm track not far from Bradfield Woods, Bull’s Wood is the last survivor of the ‘many woods of Cockfield’.
Although Bull’s Wood didn’t escape clearance completely, with almost half of the wood destroyed between 1783 and 1884, what remains has the structure and feel of a medieval wood with large coppice stools and impressivce wood banks marking the oldest boundaries.
The wood is by no means large, but it is home to a great variety of woodland plants and birds.
Captain’s Wood is the largest remaining part of a great wooded landscape that was sadly destroyed in the post-war years.
The remaining veteran oak trees in Captain’s are a direct link with a woodland landscape of 300 years ago. These ancient trees, some of which are thought to be 500 years old, are uniquely important for wildlife, sustaining rare fungi such as oak polypore and beefsteak fungus, which depend on the rotting heartwood of very old trees.
The open character of the wood is maintained by a resident herd of fallow deer that browse among the trees.
This ancient woodland is noted for its small-leaved lime coppice, this is an indication that the northern part of the wood has existed since prehistoric times. The other species to note in Groton Woods is its large wild cherry trees – it is one of only a few ancient woodlands in Suffolk with this species.
The restoration of Reydon Wood from conifer plantation revealed remarkable old coppice stools of ash and hornbeam. Local people working together in return for a share of the firewood have made a significant contribution, reinstating a 20-year coppice cycle.
The response has been expanses of bluebells, yellow archangel and greater stitchwort to rival any Suffolk wood.
Which is your favourite woodland? Tweet @buryfree and @SuffolkWildlife using the hashtag #NationalTreeWeek or tag us on Facebook.