THE WOODLAND WALK
If you'd rather keep your feet firmly on the ground, then enjoy our woodland walk and witness the oldest
example of Continuous Cover Forestry in Britain.
The Woods are unique in England for their combination of beauty, number of species, ecological sophistication,
sustainable forestry management and commercial viability.
You will walk under the canopy of some of the oldest trees in the wood, some of which are over 250 years old
and reaching heights of 100 feet. The younger second and third generation trees are 70-110 years old and many
of them are now between 120 and 140 feet in height, most of them being self-sown.
THE WOOD'S HISTORY
The New Wood part of the Weasenham Woods has been actively managed by the Coke family for over 100 years.
Two hundred and fifty years ago there were scattered clumps of Oak and Scots Pine. Over the next 150 years
it gradually became a wood by self-seeding. In the 1880's some of the Western American conifers were introduced.
It is never clear felled which allows many unusual flowering shrubs and trees to thrive under the shelter of the
high forest. The New Wood is at a more advanced stage than the surrounding woods on the estate because a
tremendous amount of timber was taken from them during the Second World War, as part of the war effort. During
that time the wood staff consisted of eight locals and about ten German prisoners of war. However, the current
owners grandfather, who was here at the time, managed to prevent too much being taken from the New Wood.
The rhododendrons and azaleas are at their best towards the end of May, beginning of June. If you come in early
June you will see a very fine example of the Chinese Handkerchief or Dove Tree (Davidia involucrata). The entire
crown of the tree is covered in flowers, which look like little silk handkerchiefs.
Being ancient heath land the wood contains several barrows or tumulus, which are thought to be burial grounds
from the Bronze Age.
CONTINUOUS COVER FORESTRY
It is hoped that many of the trees will go on for another 100 - 150 years. When you see them, imagine what they
will look like in that time span?
They will not all make it. Some will succumb to fungus or gales or be taken out to make room for the surrounding
trees. The gaps thus created provide room for natural regeneration to occur and where it does not, individual
trees can be planted. As time progresses the forest becomes more uneven aged, providing the perfect habitat for
many species of small birds including Goldcrests, Coaltits, Long-Tailed Tits and many of the Warblers.
The Woods have never been clear felled and present a balance of naturally sown and strategically planted trees.
The system practiced here is known as Continuous Cover Forestry and is the oldest example of this system of forestry
When woodland is managed in this way you are imitating what happens in the natural forests of the world, be they in
a tropical or temperate climate. Basically nature is on your side and you are not fighting it, as with an even aged
monoculture plantation system, so widely seen in this country.
WHAT DO WE DO WITH ALL THIS WOOD?
The wood is a mixture of conifers and hardwoods. You will notice the big old rough, poor quality trees, but it is the
younger trees, that have grown up under the shelter of the old rough trees and, at the same time being forced upwards
towards the light, that produce the quality timber. This is used for construction and furniture production and is
mainly sold to sawmills in East Anglia.
The management objective is, and always has been to produce big top quality timber, combined with a high amenity value.
They might look cute but the main threat to this woodland and every other woodland in the country is the alien grey
squirrel. It is the owner's view that this creature has to be totally eradicated from this country, followed by the
reintroduction of our charming native red squirrel. Large sums of money are spent removing grey squirrels in these
woods every year, but this is not sustainable in the long run. If the grey squirrel is not removed from this country
these woods, as with all other woods in this country will slowly be destroyed.