Grid Reference: TG 360 068

GPS Coordinates: 52.608231, 1.4847824

what3words: poetry.skippers.roses

Size: 4 ha (9.9 acres)

Parish: Strumpshaw

Owned By: Strumpshaw Parish Council

Access Parking: Open to the public all year. Buckenham Woods is located 1/2 km east of Strumpshaw Hill, north of Wood Lane. The main access is to the south from Wood Lane, where there is a small car park which offers great views of Buckenham Marshes to the south and Cantley to the southeast. The site is also accessible from the north via an approved footpath running parallel to the Lingwood allotments from Buckenham Road. A circular path network provides access to most of the site, including the ancient woodland.

Underfoot: Generally good, with some wet areas. Care should be taken in wet weather.

Habitats: Mature woodland, open rough grassland, scrub, old works pit and semi wet area.

Main Conservation Interest: Orchid area in the wetter part of the site and rough grassland which provides food for birds during the winter months. Ancient bluebell woodland.

Conservation Status: Country Wildlife Site.

Management: Managed by BADCOG for Strumpshaw PC since 2005.

Description: Once the whole site was woodland. Later however gravel was extracted here for use in the construction industry. When the gravel works was eventually abandoned, the site was used by Norfolk County Council Highways Department for the storage of materials and equipment. In 2005 Strumpshaw Parish Council took over responsibility for the site.

What is referred to as ‘Buckenham Woods’ is in fact a mixture of woodland, rough open grassland and two semi-wet areas, divided by a causeway. The site is predominantly woodland, taking up 3/4 of the area and consisting of mature broadleaf native trees. A rich leaf deposit makes it ideal for woodland plants, particularly bluebells and ferns. The rest of the site can be divided into two, with half of it rough open grassland and the other half a semi-wet area. These semi-wet areas are two old pits in which the water level fluctuates greatly and which are totally reliant upon rain water. One pit is dominated by sallows and shrub, whilst the other is open. Teasel is found in abundance in the open grassland area with vast amounts of buddleia and bramble acting as a boundary between the open grassland area and the woodland. All this makes for a very rich and diverse environment.

BADCOG involvement in the management of the woods started in February 2005. The first priority was to improve access around the site and, as a consequence, steps were constructed on the west side of one of the pits and vegetation on or near the path network cut back or removed. To encourage greater diversity, a large area of buddleia was removed on the southeast facing bank overlooking one of the pits and in April 2006 primroses were introduced (26 in total) to enhance the small number already established in this area. Bee orchids are found in one particular area of the site (60 recorded in 2006 and 31 in 2007). To preserve this colony, in 2006 the area was opened up with the removal of sallows and sycamores and a three square metre rabbit-proof fence erected. To encourage other types of flora to flourish, two ten square metre areas within the grassland area were cut and cleared of teasel, buddleia and sycamore. Across the site, a number of sycamores and sallows have also been removed and many bird boxes have also been erected around the site.

During the winter of 2009/10, a large amount of work was undertaken to remove sallows and sycamores from the wet area to the east of the causeway. This work was undertake in coordination with Strumpshaw PC and supervised and directed by the Strumpshaw tree warden, with the help of Mike Blackburn and his chainsaw gang. Further to this, more sallows were removed from the sandy back within the pit to the west of the causeway, with the intention of making this a open area and attempting to attract bees and sand martins to nest within the bank.

When To Visit: Buckenham Woods is a good place to visit all year round, but it is at its best in spring when the bluebells are out. Early summer is a good time to see the bee orchids, whilst later summer is the best time to see the many different species of butterflies feeding on the buddleia or the Brown Argus butterfly flying over the open grassland area. This open area is also good in the winter, as the teasel attracts many types of finches, particularly goldfinches, and the whole site offers an excellent habitat for all types of birds.