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Walking in Foxley Wood

June 5, 2012

Walking in Foxley Wood

Foxley Wood is, at 300 acres, the largest stretch of ancient woodland remaining in Norfolk. Thought to be at least 6000 years old, a rare survivor in a managed landscape. It is now a National Nature Reserve, administered by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust who acquired the woodland in 1988. There is, unlike many Norfolk woodlands, a fair amount of access for walkers.

Foxley Wood

We went in the early evening, approaching through the village of Bawdeswell – visiting on the way the parish church, rebuilt in the last century, after a Mosquito fighter-bomber crashed into the original building and burst into flames, killing the two-man crew, in 1944.

It was well worth visiting Foxley Wood in bluebell time, and the fringes of the wood gave a good display, amid some wonderful examples of coppiced trees – for this walk, unlike many in Norfolk, seems, historically, to have been worked more for timber than for hunting. According to Domesday the wood offered Pannage to 300 swine, suggesting that the eleventh century wood was little different in size to what you can see today.

We walked the rides in a great circuit, making our way back among the edge of the wood, where it met a bright yellow field of rapeseed. It was just as we were leaving, to follow the lane back to Bawdeswell, that we had our last surprise, the distinctive sound of a Nightjar.



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