Meeting point – entrance gate at south-east portion of the wood, on the minor road from Wendling to Longham. TF934 143. Postcode for satnav NR19 2NG. Time 20.30.
The site has a long wooded history and is possibly mentioned (indirectly) in the Domesday Book. It is ancient woodland with a chequered recent history.
Until World War II the wood had been managed as a coppice-with-standards. Just prior to World War II the whole wood was cut over and the majority of oak standards were felled, apart from in the north-west corner. The wood was then used by the USAF, as an ammunition dump in conjunction with the adjacent airfield, RAF Wendling. During this part of the woods history areas were bulldozed to create “blast walls”, concrete tracks were laid and a number of brick built bunkers constructed.
Coppicing fell into decline in the post war period, but was reinstated by the National Rivers Authority who cut wood to produce brushwood faggots and fascines for river bank restoration and protection projects. The NRA practice was to coppice the shrub layer in the entire wood in one season. This discontinuity of habitat may well have impacted adversely on the populations of some invertebrates and some species may not have survived this treatment.
Since the late 1980s, under NWT ownership, the wood has been managed on a 10-15 year coppice rotation, with standards and areas of minimum intervention, hopefully to the benefit of surviving resident species and colonists.
The aim of this field meeting, and the one on 12th July, is to discover the fauna present now, after 30 years of restorative management, with special attention to the Lepidoptera.