The boundaries of this ancient woodland have gone unchanged since at least 1700. Grafton Wood is a remnant of the royal forest of Feckenham that covered much of this part of Worcestershire in the Middle Ages
History of the reserve
Evidence of a 500 acre wood in Saxon Charters. The ownership of the wood is known from Saxon times to date. It was owned by Croome Estate (the Earls of Coventry) from 1730 to 1997 and managed as a coppice woodland.
Other species to look for:
Notable beetles of deadwood (ancient woodland indicators):
- Abdera biflexuosa
- Agrilus laticornis
- Chalcoides nitidula
- Trachodes hispidus
The birds (not all breeding) include buzzard, goldcrest, treecreeper lesser and greater spotted woodpeckers.
The wood is on a gentle west-facing slope, with a heavy soil of the Lower Lias clays. These damp, calcareous soils support a varied and distinctive flora that includes Herb-Paris, Adder’s-tongue, Violet Helleborine, Spurge-laurel and Birds-nest Orchid.
The canopy is dominated by ash and oak, most of the latter having been planted at the end of the 19th century, though much older trees persist along boundary banks. Only two compartments had been converted to conifers in the 1960s and these are being removed.
Derelict hazel coppice, birch and field maple are major components of the current woodland structure, along with various shrub species.
Blackthorn thickets are extensive in places around the margins of the wood and along interior rides, and are the target of enhancement management.
This reserve was acquired in partnership with the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust (WWT), with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Size: 56 hectares (138 acres)
12 Ha of wood is managed as coppice, with about half a hectare cut each year and wide rides are maintained throughout the wood. In 2011, all conifers were removed and the areas were left for natural regeneration.
- Grid Reference: SO 972 560 O.S. Map: 150
- Postcode: WR7 4PG
- Nearest town: Worcester
Take the A422 eastwards from Worcester (starts off the A44 as it comes in from J5 of the M5), turning off left to Grafton Flyford about 8 km after crossing over the motorway.
Please park by the Three Parishes Village Hall* (Grid ref: SO 963 557, nearest postcode WR7 4PG) and follow the footpath eastwards to the reserve.
There are some bus routes running along the A422 - see local information sources for timetables.
Nearest toilet: the Alcester Road Garage on the main A422 just south of the wood has a toilet and shop. For special events, we hire the Three Parishes Hall*, which has meeting and toilet facilities and is situated at the car park for the wood.
Site access and safety
The various entrances to the wood are reached via public footpaths and bridleways over the surrounding farmland. This ground can be soft and uneven in places, and especially so the rides in the wood. The entrances in the south-west and eastern boundaries have kissing gates.
Most ticks are little more than an irritation, but a few can transmit Lyme disease, a rare and potentially serious illness which is treatable with antibiotics if diagnosed early. It is therefore important to be informed and take some simple precautions.
John Tilt, Reserve Manager - Telephone: 01386 792458