Walsham le Willows Wild Wood is a beautiful green space promoting a wide variety of plant species and wildlife, and is just minutes from our site at The Acorns.
To support the local community and this stunning area, we recently donated money for two traditional scythes to maintain the open spaces, as well as the rent and insurance costs of the site.
We caught up with chair of Walsham Wild Wood, Lorna MacKinnon, for a chat…
Can you tell us about the Wild Wood and what you have planted?
Walsham Wild Wood is a young woodland site created by community volunteers in Walsham le Willows in 2012. We are easily accessible in the village behind the allotments.
We received over 420 saplings from the Woodland Trust, plus an oak sapling from the Sandringham Estate as part of a national drive to plant trees.
The wood consists of over a hectare of young trees, with various native fruit trees, hawthorn, hazel, alder, hornbeam, oak and field maple. There are areas of meadow and rides.
Why is it so important for the community to have this space?
The local primary school received funding for a forest school teaching programme and Walsham Wild Wood became part of this initiative. The children come up regularly for forest school classes doing mini beast hunts, plant identification, butterfly sweeps, making crowns out of seed heads and grasses, and having fun with toasting marshmallows on an open (supervised) fire. The children have built dens on site and helped with mulching the trees.
Mums and toddlers enjoy time in the space, older members of the community come for a gentle walk and a thoughtful sit on one of the donated benches, dog walkers enjoy it (we ask for dogs to be kept on leads) enjoy it and local joggers use it as part of their run.
What wildlife does it attract?
We have assorted bees and butterflies and a myriad of insects and beetles. We leave piles of cut grasses and shrubs to create natural habitats for them.
We have put down two corrugated pieces of metal on the ground, again to provide a natural habitat for worms and other insects, and one time found a tiny mouse in a perfect circle of grass it had constructed around itself!
We get a variety of birds including owls, pheasants and starlings. We had to protect the young trees from muntjac deer with tree guards as they rub the trunks with their tusks.
What do you love about Walsham le Willows?
There is a wide range of people living in Walsham le Willows: those who have lived here all their lives, people who have moved here with young families, through to people who have retired. This has created a rich and diverse mix of people to meet and get to know. There is a strong community spirit, such as the community foodbank during lockdown and the knitting of poppies to cover the church tower to remember those who died in the war.
There is a variety of local groups to get involved with and meet people, such as the history group, the Women’s Institute, the book club, coffee mornings at the Village Hall, the allotments etc.
I have made some very good friends here and we walk and cycle locally.
Can you tell us about some of the events and ways the Wild Wood is used?
We are a small group of just six volunteers but we enjoy putting on events for the community.
We have done a variety of events such as Easter egg hunts, summer picnics, pizzas cooked in the wood, guided walks during garden’s weekend, yoga classes and, for the first time last year, we did a Halloween pumpkin trail which we will certainly do again this year.
The Acorns is a new 60 home site in the village of Walsham le Willows, located just a short drive from Bury St Edmunds and Diss. It is located in a fantastic location, with countryside surrounding the area and beautiful woodland walks in easy reach, not to mention the great transport links, schools and amenities close by. Homes are selling now with a range of two, three, four and five-bedroom homes, and three-bedroom bungalows, available. The showhomes and marketing suite is now open. To make an appointment at The Acorns, call 01359 758 539.