Home Newsletter Locations Diary
Topic Alpha County Sections By

Travellers Resource

Bradfield Woods


Location Guide

Bradfield Woods National Nature Reserve is one of the UK's best woodland wildlife sites. It is made up of Felsham Hall Wood and what remains of Monk's Park Wood. Over 130 acres of Monk's Park Wood were lost to agriculture in the 1970s and it was this destruction that led to a campaign by local people, which resulted in the wood being purchased and set up as a nature reserve.

This ancient working wood dates back to 1252 when it supplied firewood and wood products for local people nearby.

Bradfield is the archetypal English lowland woodland, and is probably the best example in Britain of a traditionally managed wood.

Today the woodland is a profusion of colour and sound, with a lush landscape and much plant life and wildlife, as a result of its sensitive conservation. It is managed in the same way as in medieval times when the monks of Bury St Edmunds Abbey were its first custodians and material from the woods still goes to be used as thatching, firewood, tool handles and rustic poles.

Lush landscape

Coppiced woods like Bradfield are famous for their fabulous flora. Coppicing involves cutting trees to ground level every 10-20 years. A different part of the woods is coppiced every year according to a long term management plan.

The stumps or 'stools' regenerate naturally, and the whole system of coppicing enhances the life of the trees.

Some of the giant ash stools, in this wood, date back to the Middle Ages.

Woodland sounds

An early morning visit to hear the dawn chorus is a symphony of sound with Warblers and Nightingales competing to make the sweetest music.

The Nightingale is declining in numbers, but this woodland is perfect for them because they can feed on the forest floor and breed in the dense thickets which are typical of coppiced woods like Bradfield. The Nightingale is characterised by the exquisite beauty and variety of its bird song, although when the bird gives birth to its chicks, its exquisite voice is replaced by a raucous call.

Bradfield Woods is also home to a range of woodland birds and mammals including deer, the yellow necked mouse, the enigmatic dormouse and badgers.

The deer population includes Roe Deer and Red Deer as well as the tiny, dog-sized Muntjac Deer which can be spotted regularly in the woods.

During the Summer there are breathtaking clouds of butterflies in the more sheltered areas of the woods, with 24 different types having been identified to date.

The best way to enjoy the woods is to pick up a trail guide at the visitor centre on arrival, and a good time to visit the reserve is between April and mid-July.

Plant paradise

Bradfield also boasts an impressive variety of plants, about 370 in total, as a result of its wide range of soil types.

One of its specialities is the Oxlip, for many years thought to be a cross between a Primrose and Cowslip, but now a species in its own right.

Another rare plant is Herb Paris or Herb True Love Knot, which looks like a traditional love knot, hence its popular name.

Visitors who visit in April can also see Early Purple Orchids and Wood Anemones.

Location: Bradfield Woods, Suffolk

Grid Reference: TL935581 (referred to as Felshamhall Wood on OS Map). Ceremonial County: Suffolk

Map Link: VIEW MAP

Aerial photo:

Getting there: Located 12km south east of Bury St Edmunds on Felsham Road between Bradfield St George and Felsham.

Access: Walk to the wood from the car park. Accessible in parts - areas of hard surface make easy access possible to some parts of the reserve but Winter can be difficult when conditions are wet. Usually wet and sticky. At entrance to woods, and nearby Red Lion Pub.
Website: Bradfield Woods
Other Useful Websites: www.english-nature.org.uk/special/nnr/nnr_details.asp?NNR_ID=24
Email: info@suffolkwildlife.cix.co.uk
Address: Bradfield Woods, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
Postcode: IP30 0AQ Telephone: 01473 890089 - Suffolk Wildlife
Opening Times:


Nearby Locations:
Other Location Pages:
Other Relevant Pages:

Notes: Visitor boards and 3 waymarked nature trails. Bird watching hide. Nearest toilet and refreshments are in local villages. Bird watching, wild flowers and plant life, fungi and maybe a deer. Trees in autumn colour. Best season to visit - April-mid July. Early morning is a good time for bird watching, and summer for the butterflies. Autumn for colourful trees.


Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Grid(s) or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Tracey Park Section: Nature Key:
Page Ref: bradfield_woods Topic: Woodlands and Forests  Last Updated: 07/2009


This page:

Link directly to this page, with text or the button on right.

Text linking:             on Photographers Resource

Linking Instructions                            http://www.photographers-resource.co.uk/

Photographers Resource, all the information for the photographer