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 was unable to continue cultivating the arable fields, which reverted to a semi-natural state.
The land changed hands in 1993, but continued to be managed for nature conservation by the new owners, Mr and Mrs Laurie Parker. In 1996, the ten-acre field now known as Orchid Glade was planted with mixed broadleaf woodland directly into the plough furrows from the last cultivation; these are still apparent today. In 2002, the whole farm was listed as a County Wildlife Site. In 2005, White House Farm was purchased by Sinfield Trust for Nature Conservation, with a financial contribution from the Executors of the Bequest of Francis Simpson to Suffolk Flora Preservation Trust. In 2013 Sinfield Trustees conveyed ownership of Orchid Glade to the Suffolk Flora Preservation Trust.
Since 2013, Orchid Glade has been managed by the Guardians of the Trust. The outer band of woodland has been fenced, and an inner area has been cleared of the thicket of young trees. There is a mysterious shallow pool, much frequented by the rich local fauna. Fallow deer and muntjac abound and, with rabbits, the effect of their grazing is the most important factor maintaining a rich clayland flora in which the spring flowering of twayblade and southern march orchids still justifies the name of this small reserve.
Visit the Orchid Glade gallery to see images of Orchid Glade and subscribe to the website for regular updates and information about upcoming open days.
☞ To provide protection to sensitive flora, the gates to both reserves are normally locked, and the reserves are closed to unauthorised visitors. Each site is open two or three mornings a year when members of the public are welcome. Visit our Open Days page for more information.