Wooded Areas to Explore in Norfolk
Published date: March 2020
Norfolk has some beautiful woodland that are rich and diverse and the lifeblood of the planet, providing habitat for animals as well as helping to maintain the balance of the air around us. From lush forests to ancient woodland, parkland and heathland, these varied and tranquil spaces offer the perfect opportunity to get close to nature, shaped by geology, soils, climate and people over generations. Escape the hustle and bustle of life and improve your mental and physical wellbeing as you discover the spectacular wildlife and enjoy being outside in these magical places across Norfolk.
A patchwork of pine, heathland and broadleaves makes up Thetford Forest and there’s 18,730 hectares to explore at the UK’s largest man-made lowland forest. It’s the ideal setting for a great day out; walk, cycle, run, picnic, play and relax surrounded by a rich variety of animal and plant life. There are different parts to explore and a range of attractions, from all the outdoor play facilities at High Lodge, to the quieter areas of Lynford Arboretum and Lynford Stag. Dogs are welcome and dog waste bins are provided.
To find out further details about Thetford Forest, please use the link below.
Thetford Forest, High Lodge, Brandon, IP27 0AF
In the care of the National Trust, Sheringham Park is a landscaped park that was designed by one of Britain’s most-loved landscape designers, Humphry Repton. Discover mature woodlands and a large variety of rhododendrons and azaleas that put on an impressive display from mid to late April and into June. Many other species of tree and shrub can be found at Sheringham Park including fifteen kinds of magnolia, large pieris, maple, acer, styrax, eucryphia, pocket handkerchief tree and snowdrop tree. A tranquil spot, especially if you avoid the main path and take a wander through the mature woodland away from the crowds. Discover some great viewpoints around the park, up towers and of the surrounding coast and countryside.
Sheringham Park has a large carpark, picnic tables, visitor centre, café and several waymarked routes. Dogs are welcome and dog waste bins are provided.
To find out more about Sheringham Park, please use the link below.
Sheringham Park, Sheringham, Norfolk, NR26 8TL
Holt Country Park
Situated close to the Norfolk coast, Holt Country Park is managed by North Norfolk District Council and is made up of tranquil woodland and heathland that is beautifully maintained with excellent facilities. Scots pines and native broadleaves grow in abundance and there are several way-marked routes for visitors to explore, some suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The changing seasons bring different displays of flora and fauna, including rare orchids, snowdrops, many varieties of butterfly, damselfly, dragonfly and birds, fungi, muntjac deer and adders.
Young and old will love the peace and tranquillity Holt Country Parks offers, from woodland routes under its everchanging canopy to heathland walks through heather and bracken. Younger visitors will love the play area close to the carpark and there are unusual sculptures and artwork dotted around the park to spot, a visitor centre, tearoom and plenty of places to enjoy a picnic.
Dogs are very welcome at Holt Country Park but please make sure they are kept under tight control as there are resident wild ponies and sometimes livestock wandering free. Dog waste bins are provided.
Further details and information about Holt Country Park can be found by using the link below.
Holt Country Park, Edgefield Hill, Holt, Norfolk, NR25 6SP
Foxley Wood near Fakenham is the largest remaining block of ancient woodland in Norfolk (300 acres) and is managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. It is famous for its stunning displays of bluebells from mid to late April to early May, that carpet the woodland floor. Discover other woodland plants and wildflowers including dog’s mercury, greater butterfly orchid, wood anemone, wild garlic and herb-paris and the locally scarce wild service-tree. There are in total over 350 flowering plant species recorded at Foxley Wood.
Woodland birds such as green and great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, treecreeper and marsh tit can be seen at Foxley Wood and summer visitors such as blackcap, garden warbler, chiffchaff, willow warbler, turtle dove, grasshopper warbler and spotted flycatcher may also be seen. Tawny owls are common here and barn owls are sometimes seen hunting. Birds of prey such as sparrowhawk and kestrel are often seen at Foxley Wood and rarer visitors include the common buzzard and hobby.
Foxley Wood is home to a wide variety of butterfly, including speckled wood, ringlet, purple hairstreak, white admiral, silver-washed fritillary and meadow brown.
Please note that Foxley Wood is closed every Thursday for important habitat management works and dogs are not permitted.
To find out more about Foxley Wood, please use the link below.
Foxley Wood, Foxley, Norfolk, NR20 4QR
Purchased in 1993 by the North Norfolk Community Woodland Trust (NNCWT), Pigneys Wood is situated 2 miles northeast of North Walsham and is easy to find as it’s signposted from the town by brown tourist signs. NNCWT reverted the site from arable land to mixed woodland and have planted in excess of 20,000 trees of 40 different species, and have also restored important wetland areas, improved access and created guided walking trails. An impressive 450-year-old ancient oak tree ‘the Old Oak’ stands next to a small woodland area where a carpet of bluebells can be enjoyed in spring.
Much wildlife can be found at Pigneys Wood including goldcrest, cuckoo, bullfinch, reed bunting, snipe, nuthatch and cetti’s warbler, insects such as peacock, red admiral, holly blue butterflies, many dragonflies and damselflies and mammals including roe deer, otter, water vole and badger. Rare visitors have been recorded visiting Pigneys Wood such as a camberwell beauty butterfly in 2011 and a bittern in 2013.
Pigneys Wood was entrusted to Norfolk Wildlife Trust in 2017 and they continue the conservation management of this site.
For further details, please use the link below.
Pigneys Wood, Hall Lane, Knapton, Norfolk, NR28 0SH
Around a 20-minute drive from the centre of Norwich, Burlingham Woodland Walks is a mixture of old and new woodland, orchards, farmland and hedgerows. Managed since the 1990s on land owned by Norfolk County Council, there are a number of walks of various lengths and include those suitable for wheelchairs, mobility vehicles and pushchairs. Some of the way-marked routes can be used by horses. The walks can be accessed at different starting points, including from North Burlingham village, Acle, Fairhaven Water Gardens and Lingwood.
For further details about Burlingham Woods, please use the following link:
Just north of North Walsham, Bacton Wood is an excellent spot for orienteering, cycling, walking and horse riding. An idyllic spot, it’s the ideal destination to enjoy outdoor pursuits in the beautiful Norfolk countryside. The wood is managed sustainably for wildlife, people and timber and there is in excess of 30 species of tree.
To find out more about Bacton Wood, please use the link below.
Bacton Wood, North Walsham, Norfolk, NR28 9UE
Discover this historic woodland that is made up of five smaller woods, with different landowners, the oldest part referenced as early as 1251. Explore the paths and trails and see the vast variety of trees, such as the mature oak and yew, ash, large leaved lime, beech, hazel, hawthorn, holly, hornbeam, silver birch, field maple, common lime and a mature black poplar tree. All the dead wood makes a fantastic habitat for a range of invertebrates, and spotting these is usually a big hit with younger visitors. Tyrrell’s Wood has a wealth of ground flora that includes dog’s mercury, primrose, sanicle, early dog violets and purple orchids in spring, bluebell, wood sorrel and pyramidal orchids.
To find out more about Tyrell’s Wood, please use the link below.
Tyrell’s Wood, Pulham Market, Diss, Norfolk, NR15 2UZ0
Containing some of the oldest oaks in Norfolk, thought to be over 500 years old, Thursford Wood is a 25-acre site located just over 3 miles north-east of Fakenham and is managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Open to the public, Thursford Wood puts on an excellent display of bluebells in the spring, ferns in the summer and during autumn there is an abundance of fungi. Visitors can see good numbers of common woodland birds such as chiffchaff, nuthatch, blackcap, greater spotted woodpecker and treecreeper.
For more information about Thursford Wood, please use the link below.
Thursford Wood, Thursford, Fakenham, Norfolk, NR21 0BB