Arger Fen and Spouse's Vale is a fascinating mosaic of ancient woodland alongside fen meadow and regenerating woodland.
This woodland is a fascinating mosaic of ancient coppice woodland and new naturally regenerating woodland alongside wet meadows.
The interesting mix of trees at Arger Fen includes oak, ash, field maple, holly, crab apple, superb large alder and hazel stools. This reserve is also one of only a few ancient woodlands in Suffolk with wild cherry.
It’s best to visit in spring when you will be greeted with a fabulous display of bluebells accompanied by the magical song of woodland birds. Listen out for black cap, whitethroat and willow warbler. The reserve's contrasting habitats of dry wooded hillside and damp valley floor create a rich environment for wildlife and visitors alike. Many rare and declining species find refuge here including the scarce hazel dormouse and the barbastelle bat. As you walk around the reserve you may notice many humps and areas of freshly excavated sand. This is evidence of the healthy badger population on the reserve. The woodland is important for its wild cherry trees, which have survived in impressive numbers.
Common lizards and grass snakes bask in woodland glades warming themselves in the summer sun and in winter flocks of siskin can be an unexpected pleasure feeding on alder seeds. Butterflies to look out for include speckled wood, meadow brown, orange tip, holly blue and comma. Woodland wildflowers fill the rides through spring and summer. Look out for yellow archangel, greater stitchwort and pignut. With wild garlic, cuckooflower and opposite leaved golden saxifrage highlighting the wetter areas.
Arger Fen & Spouse's Vale benefited from gifts in the wills of Frances and Edith Vale, Peter Mitchel, Anthony Wheeler and Douglas Maule. Read the story of how these legacies allowed us to extend and conserve the reserve.
Species and habitats