Know before you go
Parking informationCar parking is on the roadside in Slaley village.
Access is along the footpath from Slaley signed to Marley Cote Walls.
Once in the reserve, the terrain is moderately difficult, with some slopes. The path through the western oak woodland is of varying width, and is crossed by a number of tree roots. However, the terrain which needs to be crossed in order to access the reserve is more difficult. From the north, East Woodfoot, a fairly steep and often muddy track has to be negotiated. From the south, Slaley, the footpaths cross cultivated farmland which usually entails following the field boundaries along poorly defined, rough and narrow tracks.
When to visit
Best time to visitApril to June
About the reserve
This site is an area of ancient semi-natural woodland in two parts. The area between the woods was formally agricultural grassland, but was replanted with trees in 1991 and again in 2009. The western wood has a fairly uniform canopy dominated by oak with some rowan, birch and wild cherry. Regeneration is limited to rowan seedlings. The under storey is generally sparse but includes hazel and holly. The field layer is mainly grassy, but to the south it becomes richer, with several plant species indicative of ancient woodland. The trees planted in the central part of the site are predominantly hazel and elm to manage as a coppice.
The ground vegetation here is dominated by coarse grasses, but towards the edge, woodland plants such as dog's mercury occur. There is no access to the smaller eastern wood which is of a similar age and composition to the western area with a canopy dominated by oak. The woods have a very good bird fauna, including barn, tawny and little owls, wood warbler, pied flycatcher and tree creeper. A wide range of mammals also occur including roe deer, badger, stoat and weasel.