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

Please do not park on School Lane within the village, but park considerately at the designated car park 400m after the reserve entrance.

Captain's Wood has passed through the hands of various bishops, noblemen and moneyed families over the past 1000 years


School Road, Sudbourne
IP12 2BE

OS Map Reference

A static map of Captain's Wood Nature Reserve

Know before you go

63 hectares

Entry fee


Parking information

From Sudbourne village take School road heading east, free car park 400m beyond entrance on right hand side.

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


Not suitable for wheelchairs.


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. Step into Captains Wood and you step back one hundred years or more into a woodland habitat of ancient trees and wild flowers where deer roam freely, barn owls hunt the clearings and seven 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 woodland 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 woodland, supporting several species of fungi and invertebrates which are dependent on the slowly rotting heartwood, notably oak polypore that is only known from six other sites in Britain.

We are delighted to have bought a 17 acre block of small fields, scrub and a little area of woodland sitting between Captain's Wood and the village of Sudbourne. The land has not been farmed for many years and had largely been left fallow. As a result it had developed into a wonderful mosaic of rough grassland, scrub and woodland. Part of the land sits wet for much of the year and this area still supports a few marsh orchids together with other wetland plants. The local herd of fallow deer has again played a crucial role in keeping this land open, much as they do in Captain's Wood. Over the coming months the main practical task will be to remove the derelict fencing and accumulated clutter. Otherwise our intention is to adopt the same policy of allowing nature to do its own thing as we have in the woodland. We will also be developing and way-marking an extension to the Captain's Wood trail in the spring , to include a loop around the new land and also provide access to parts of the reserve that were previously inaccessible. We hope the trail will be open in time for the bluebell season - please check this page for updates.

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

Contact us

Suffolk Wildlife Trust
Contact number: 01473 890089

Location map