Hazel Sillver explores Abbot’s Wood near Ardingly
During the 12th century rule of Henry I, this ancient woodland was gifted to the Abbot of Battle Abbey. The old ditches and banks amongst the trees reveal the wood’s age.
During World War II the oak forest here was felled to provide fuel for munitions manufacture, and thousands of soldiers camped here en route to the D-day landings in Normandy.
The wood was bought by the Forestry Commission in 1953, and now includes plantations of conifers, as well as many oak trees. The habitat is important for wildlife such as dragonflies, roe deer, dormice, pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies, and the UK’S smallest bird, the goldcrest, which has a yellow or orange stripe on its head.
Come in spring for carpets of bluebells and the sound of nightingales singing, and visit in autumn for fiery falling leaves.