Exploring woodland in Bedfordshire
A few days ago I met up with site manager Stephen Reynolds to visit and explore a couple of Woodland Trust sites in Bedfordshire. This visit provided an opportunity to see two woodlands of very different age, relatively newly planted Plummers Wood near Haynes, Shefford and much older Swineshead and Spanoack Wood near Kimbolton. Currently volunteer activity includes wardens patrolling both sites and in the past volunteers have kindly given time to help us with practical conservation work.
Also known as Plummers Copse, Plummers Wood is 1 hectare and is one of The Woodland Trust’s ‘Woods on Your Doorstep’ woodlands, created to commemorate the Millennium. The local community worked hard to ensure the planting of the wood and enjoy walking there. It was planted with native broadleaf tree species such as oak and ash with a small area of hazel planted for coppicing. A number of species of wildflower can also be found at Plummers, including broomrape and cowslip.
Swineshead and Spanoak are actually 2 separate ancient woodlands, Swinshead being 34.4 hectares and Spanoak 11.8 hectares. The structure of Swineshead Wood is extremely diverse, with 22 hectares designated as a site of special scientific interest, with the remaining area a plantation on an ancient woodland site. You can read more about our woodland restoration work here. Tree species include wet oak, ash and field maple, with hazel and dogwood amongst others.
Spanoak is also an ancient woodland site, and like the plantation area at Swineshead was clear felled in the 1970s. Management by the Woodland Trust has meant that Spanoak wood is slowly being regenerated with native species reclaiming the ancient woodland site.
A visit to Swineshead and Spanoak will provide you with the chance to see a diverse mix of wildlife species, wildflowers include bluebell, dogs mercury, primrose and ragged robin. Bird species include green and greater spotted woodpecker, with nightingales and even a crossbill spotted at the wood!
Both Plummers Wood and Swineshead and Spanoak Wood are well worth a visit!
Thank you to the volunteers who help us on both of these sites.
Volunteer Development Officer: Central region
Images by Amanda Brookes