Captains Wood bluebells Suffolk Wildlife Trust

By Steve Aylward

Captain's Wood nature reserve Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Captain's Wood by Steve Aylward

Captain's Wood nature reserve Suffolk Wildlife Trust

By Steve Aylward

Captain's Wood nature reserve Suffolk Wildlife Trust

By Steve Aylward

Captain's Wood nature reserve Suffolk Wildlife Trust

By Steve Aylward

Captain's Wood Nature Reserve

Stay alert, control the virus, save lives

Our nature reserves remain open for enjoyment within the government Covid-19 guidance. Please take responsibility for your own safety and that of other visitors by following the 2-metre social distancing guidance throughout your visit.

This is the latest Government Advice on coronavirus: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Please note that in line with social distancing advice, Suffolk Wildlife Trust offices, centres and hides are all closed and all events are cancelled at this time.

Our nature reserves rely on the support of our members – thank you all. Please join today.

Captain's Wood is a precious ancient woodland full of rare plants and a superb mix of natural habitats for a wide range of wildlife, including fallow deer, barn owl and bats.

Location

School Road, Sudbourne
Woodbridge
Suffolk
IP12 2BE

OS Map Reference

TM421531
A static map of Captain's Wood Nature Reserve

Know before you go

Size
63 hectares

Entry fee

Free

Parking information

From Sudbourne village take School Road heading east, free car park 400m beyond entrance on right hand side. Please do not park on School Lane within the village.

Walking trails

Circular pedestrian trail (3km) round reserve, damp and rough in places, though otherwise good. Three rustic benches around trail. Car park 400m from reserve entrance, with road walk necessary. Generally dry level trail around wood.

Trail map

Access

Not suitable for wheelchairs.

Dogs

No dogs permitted

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

April to May, September to November

About the reserve

Fallow deer roam through one of the greatest expanses of bluebells in the county. Walk into Captain's Wood and you step back hundreds of years into a woodland habitat of ancient trees and wild flowers where deer roam freely, barn owls hunt the clearings and ten species of bat feed amongst the trees. 

In Spring, Captain’s Wood exhibits one of the most astonishing displays of bluebells to be found anywhere in Suffolk. The woodland habitat varies from mostly open wood pasture with oak and birch to a large stand of almost pure hazel, clumps of mature Scots pine and lines of planted sweet chestnut. Veteran oak trees are found throughout much of the wood pasture, supporting several species of fungi and invertebrates which are dependent on the slowly rotting heartwood, notably the fungus 'oak polypore' that is only known from six other sites in Britain.

In addition to the ancient wood pasture are small fields and scrub. The land has been left fallow and has developed into a wonderful mosaic of rough grassland, scrub and woodland. The fallow deer play a crucial role in keeping this land open.

Captain's Wood has benefited from a gift in the will of Gloria Ford and was bought with support from The Heritage Lottery Fund.

Historical management

Captain's Wood was shown as 'Cutmore Wood' on ancient maps  - 'Cutmore' has evolved to 'Captain' over the years. 

Over the last 1,000 years, the wood has passed through the hands of various Bishops, noblemen and moneyed families including, in 1550, the Bishop of Norwich, in 1620, Sir Michael Stanhope (Groom to the chamber of Elizabeth 1) and in the late 19th century, Sir Richard Wallace. Until the 20th century, the wood was a small part of a much larger estate which has since been broken up.

Early maps show a landscape around Sudbourne radically different to that found today. A mosaic of wood pasture (open woodland typically grazed by deer or livestock) and heathland extended for several thousand acres and the boundary of Captain's Wood can clearly be seen much as it is today.

However, much of Sudbourne Great Wood to the north has been cleared for agriculture over the last 70 years, as have the extensive heaths to the east and south. Today, Captain's Wood sits in a modern farming landscape.

Contact us

Suffolk Wildlife Trust
Contact number: 01473 890089

Environmental designation

County Wildlife Site

Location map