The Suffolk Flora Preservation Trust owns and manages two private reserves in Suffolk: Simpson’s Fromus Valley, Kelsale and Orchid Glade at White House Farm, Hasketon. Both reserves are registered as organic land with the Soil Association.

The Suffolk Flora Trust greatly values its friends and guardians: with your help the trust will be able to preserve the special sites it already maintains; purchase and protect new sites and improve the diversity of flora and fauna in Suffolk for many years to come.

ACCESS TO THE RESERVES: Guardians – all reasonable times, Public – Open days as advertised.

SFPT reserves access policy

Simpson’s Fromus Valley – Kelsale

Simpson’s Fromus Valley is a beautifully preserved wildlife site in a hidden Suffolk valley with meadows, woodland, ancient trees and ponds. The river Fromus runs through a wooded gully out into the meadows.

herefords-and-blossomBefore Suffolk Flora Trust purchased the land in 2005 the site was not managed for conservation purposes. Since acquiring the land the trust has installed a boundary fence, surrounding the whole reserve, the pastures have been enclosed and a water supply provided. This allows conservation grazing by cattle: to the correct length to allow flora to flourish. Species rich meadows are a priority habitat having declined in the United Kingdom by 97% since the 1950s. The meadows at Simpson’s Fromus Valley are carefully managed to encourage the return of diverse flora and interrelated fauna and hay cutting and grazing is a vital part of that management.

The 27 acres at Fromus Valley now support over 50 bird species including endangered species such as bullfinch, yellowhammer and skylark. The site provides a wildlife haven amid intensively farmed arable land attracting high numbers of passing migrant birds in the winter, including fieldfares and redwings and acting as a refuge for resident bird species. A stagnant pond has been de-silted back to its clay base and scrub and trees cleared or coppiced to allow more light into the pond. Interesting emergent and marginal plants such as thread-leaved water crowfoot, branch bur-reed and pink water speedwell are expected to re-colonise.  Insect life completes the ecosystem; beetles, flies, 4 species of dragonfly, bees and butterflies abound.

Visit the history page to find out about the intriguing archaeological and geographical features of the site, the gallery pages to see slideshows of the species found in each season and follow us on facebook or twitter to find out details of our open days, so you can see all this for yourself!

Orchid Glade – Hasketon

Orchid Glade reserve lies at the eastern edge of White House Farm at Hasketon near Woodbridge. Once part of the Boulge Hall Estate this tenanted farm was sold in 1927. It was purchased at auction by the Palmer family who owned the land until Tom Palmer’s death in 1992. Following an accident in the 1950s Tom Palmer was unable to continue cultivating the land. The field now known as Orchid Glade was left with the plough furrows from the final cultivation and these can still be seen today. Because of its history the land escaped the intensive farming practices which evolved in the 1950s, including use of artificial fertiliser and pesticides, so allowing the natural wild flora to return.

The land changed hands in 1993 and was managed for nature conservation by Mr. and Mrs. Laurie Parker who sold it to the Trust in 2005 so that it could continue as a nature reserve.

Now, Orchid Glade is a 10 acre meadow with young woodland and forms part of White House Farm which is a County Wildlife Site and another of Suffolk’s hidden gems.

Dactylorhiza praetermissa

The trust is undertaking a meadow restoration project in Orchid Glade clearing areas of young ash and alder regeneration. As you would expect Orchid Glade has impressive displays of orchids and a recently created pond supports great crested newts also attracting a wide variety of dragonflies and damselflies. A corner of Orchid Glade lying within a high fence shows the result of woodland regeneration without any impact from grazing animals.

The trust has just fenced Orchid Glade to allow cattle to graze in late summer as part of the grassland management which controls scrub and benefits the flora. The hedges require coppicing to prolong their life and improve the habitat for birds and small mammals.

Visit the gallery to see images of orchid glade and subscribe to the website for regular updates and information about upcoming open days.

Both sites are wild with no amenities and visitors require suitable clothing, sturdy footwear and should “take only photographs, leave only footprints”.

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