Frith Wood

Bluebells, Frith Wood (Chris Harris)

Frith Wood is a 75 hectare wood, owned and managed by Forestry England It lies just to the north of Ledbury, on the western edge of the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and occupies a roughly north-east/south-west aligned limestone ridge. The wood is almost 2km long and 300m wide. The highest point of Frith Wood is called Bradlow Knoll at 260m above Ordnance Datum.

The tracks through Frith Wood provide an opportunity to explore an historic landscape on foot. Both the woodland boundaries and usage have changed with the passage of time, and traces of man’s activities in the past are still visible today. The northwestern part of the wood is primarily chestnut coppice. The northeastern part is conifer and the southern end is old coppice; a mixture of ash, oak, chestnut, hazel, birch and some small-leaved lime.

Many of the tracks in Frith Wood have been given names by pupils of John Masefield School, Ledbury.

The Ledbury Naturalists Field Club survey of 2002/3 found that the overgrown wood and the conifers excluded light and reduced plant variety. Forestry England have long- term plans to return the area to traditional mixed woodland, with areas of standard trees and new coppice. Their improvements are already showing benefit to wildlife.

The survey showed 154 species of plant, including some rarely seen in the county, such as the violet helleborine. There were common spotted and early purple orchids, and probably the best showing in the county of the spreading bellflower. There were 39 species of tree, 33 of bird (including goshawk, linnet, goldcrest, nuthatch and tawny owl) and 26 of butterfly and moth, including comma, gatekeeper, red admiral, peacock, orange-tip and holly blue. There are eight species of bats living and breeding in the wood.

Further information about Frith Wood can be found in the following publications.
Ledbury people and parish before the Reformation by Sylvia Pinches 2010, published by Victoria County History

View in Google Maps: Frith Wood