Little Linford Wood
Know before you go
Parking informationOn B526 north from Newport Pagnell, take road on left to Haversham. After 0.5miles take private road on right (look for small badger sign); if farm gate is closed please park nearby. Drive slowly for 1 mile on farm track to car park - locked at dusk.
Flat; muddy when wet; bumpy in places; several short bridge; benches, gates on some entrances.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times. Please note that the car park is locked at dusk.
Best time to visitMarch to December
About the reserve
A woodland reborn
Little Linford Wood is a great example of how nature abhors a vacuum and has immense powers of recovery after a setback. The woodland is now recovering after large parts were clear felled in 1980, just before BBOWT took over the site.
New and old
As you look around you will notice that much of the woodland is relatively young, as it is still fighting its way back. When woodlands regrow after felling, they become dense with both saplings and stump growth fighting for the light and space. This tight, impenetrable stage of young regrowth is favoured by a wealth of wildlife, seeking cover and protection. Birds such as warblers skulk among the leaves. Small mammals such as mice and voles, in turn, attract predators. Nature is taking maximum advantage of this stage in the woodland's regrowth. Alongside the younger woodland are some areas of more mature oak and ash with field maple interspersed. Indicators of ancient woodland, such as herb-Paris, can be found on the woodland floor.
Dormice particularly benefit from the hazel areas of the woodland. In 1998, a population of dormice was introduced, some of which were displaced by the Channel Tunnel rail link. These tiny creatures were given the freedom of the woodland and have thrived here. In summer, they live high up in the canopy feeding on nuts, berries and insects, while they spend the winter sleeping deeply in special boxes provided by the Trust. These boxes are easily recognisable as they have no hole in the front, but instead, have a hole in the back against the tree trunk so that the dormice can climb inside. Please don't open the boxes as the dormice are vulnerable to disturbance. Only licensed dormice surveyors can do this.
Sound of the birds
The great spotted woodpecker prefers the areas of mature woodland, where it can drum high up in trees to attract mates. They also make a sharp, single 'chik' sound that can be heard all year round but is particularly easy to hear in winter when the leaves have fallen and the sound travels well. When you hear it look out for this large black, white and red bird high up on the branches or trunk of a tree. Overhead you may see buzzards or kestrels scanning the ground for prey. A quiet walk down the rides early morning or evening could give you a glimpse of a fox. In winter, the doleful hoots of tawny owls can be heard calling from the woodland edge.
Look out for the elusive stoat along the woodland rides. This sleek and nimble predator hunts voles, mice and birds in the long grass and bramble at the woodland edge and in denser woodland. Keep still if you see one as they can be very curious and may stick their head up to check you out. Another mustelid and cousin of the stoat is the badger, a shy, nocturnal animal. Look out for evidence of their night-time worm forays at the path edged where you will find small 'snuffle holes' where worms have been dug out.
The wide grassy rides are carefully maintained to create perfect conditions for sun-loving insects such as butterflies. The subtle tones of meadow brown and ringlet butterflies can be glimpsed along the woodland ride on warm, sunny days. Rides are fringed with dense bramble, ferns and wild flowers such as primroses and common spotted-orchids. Tall plants such as teasel provide rich pickings for finches that strip them of their seeds.
Things to do
Follow the wildlife walk at the woods (1 mile).