Location: Aysgarth, Wensleydale
Grid Reference: SE013816
Freeholders’ Wood Local Nature Reserve (LNR) consists of ancient semi-natural woodland, which means it has had tree cover since at least the year 1600 and many species of plants have colonised the site during this time.
This site is one of the best places to see hazel coppice woodland in the National Park and its associated ground flora in flower between March and June. The rotation coppice system of woodland management is vital on this site in order to maintain and enhance the biodiversity present. Where the hazel hasn’t been coppiced for some time the ground flora tends to be dominated by plants such as dog’s mercury and wood anemone. However, in areas that have been coppiced in recent years, a richer ground flora including wood avens, lady’s mantle and wild strawberry can be seen as well as bluebells, dog-violets and herb-Paris. In addition, you may see or hear the birdsong of the nuthatch, chaffinch, treecreeper, blackcap, chiffchaff, goldcrest, bullfinch, greenfinch, tits, song thrush, blackbird and warblers. In a very quiet moment you may see the mammals roe deer, woodmice, shrews or even red squirrels.
Dormice were reintroduced to the wood in 2008. Freeholders ’ Wood is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).