A lovely gift to future generations
Back in 1998, more than 200 people packed into Boxford village hall at public meetings to discuss the future of what was about to become their Millennium Wood. For nearly two years the villagers had been looking for a suitable site, so when a well-known and loved piece of land became available, they jumped at it. The River Box runs alongside the picturesque 9 hectare (22 acre) pastureland, part of which is now a designated County Wildlife Site. The higher ground nearest the village has been planted as woodland, but the rest is being managed as wet meadow to preserve water-loving plants such as march orchid.
"One of the reasons we had such tremendous support from all parts of the village," says Sue Beven, who has lived in Boxford for 25 years, "was because people had known the meadow as a courting place and played on it as children. It needed to be preserved for us all to enjoy."
Primrose wood was planted on the hill looking down over the river valley and the millennium feature is a locally made circular wooden seat set near some black poplar cuttings taken from another area of the village called the Spinney. The name Primrose Wood comes from the late wife of Fred Leeder, who sold the land to the Trust. He particularly wanted the new wood to be called after her, and, appropriately, primroses now grow around the entrance.
Primrose Wood is one of 250 woods created around the country through the 'Woods on your Doorstep' project to celebrate the millennium 2000/2001. 'Woods on your Doorstep' is supported by the Millennium Commission, Forestry Commission and the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts.
The site is comprised of a variety of habitats, including 2.5 hectares (6.1 acres) of new planting. Oak, ash and alder are the dominant species with smaller amounts of small leaved lime, hornbeam, hazel and hawthorn.
The design for Primrose wood has been carefully planned in conjunction with Suffolk Wildlife Trust to protect the special areas of interest already on the site. The grassland identified in the design is an excellent example of a flower rich wet meadow, which has high County importance and is designated as a County Wildlife Site.
The proposed management of the meadows would be to take a late summer hay cut afer the wild flowers have seeded and then to graze with cattle later in the year. This traditional management practice would further enhance the quality of these meadows and maintain the flowers present. The wet meadows sloping down to the River Box are particularly rich in flowering plants. Management of the meadows will be through cutting or grazing late in the year.
Many alders can be seen growing along the riverbanks and mature alder carr, an important wildlife habitat can also be found.
A native Black Poplar cutting from Boxford village has been planted as a feature to mark the millennium. A locally produced hexagonal seat has been installed around the tree for people to enjoy.
You are welcome to walk here at any time.