Sun­day stroll

Hazel Sil­lver ex­plores Ab­bot’s Wood near Ard­ingly

Sussex Life - - Inside -

AB­BOT’S WOOD

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.

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