Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The Ovington Ramblers: Foxley Wood

Maureen Simmons

It was another beautiful sunny day when we visited Foxley Wood, which is well signposted off the A1067 Fakenham to Norwich Road. This is Norfolk's largest remaining ancient woodland and was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. 

These ancient woods have been unchanged for hundreds and hundreds of years and provide the perfect natural habitat for so many diverse species.  In fact there are over 350 plant species recorded in Foxley Wood, many of which were in bloom when we paid our visit. The most spectacular, of course, are the bluebells making a deep blue carpet through the trees, interspersed with white wood anemones and pale lemon primroses – an absolute dream! We were lucky to see lots of other wild flowers including water avens, wood sorrell, red campion and sweet violets, to name just a few.  Wild strawberries were beginning to stir and some were even in flower. We had never seen so many huge bumble bees at one time, visiting the early spring flowers and catkins.

We heard so many different bird calls throughout the woods and it would have been lovely to have an expert with us, but we did recognise the robins, wrens, chiff chaffs, chaffinches and woodpeckers.

Some of the pathways are extremely boggy at this time of year and because of this we did make a big diversion to drier ground.  However, this led us to some remarkably large early purple orchids we would otherwise have missed. How lucky was that! The photograph shows one of them just about to come into flower and looking rather like a fat asparagus shoot.

This is a wonderful place to visit, but remember to take your wellies if you are going soon.  Next week – weather permitting – we are taking a boat trip on Ranworth Broad.

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