Old Sulehay

Wild garlic at Old Sulehay Forest

Old Sulehay Forest - Robert Enderby

One of the last remnants of the ancient Rockingham Forest, noted for its amazing woodland flora including carpets of bluebells and wild garlic.


Sulehay Road, 0.5 miles west of the village
Yarwell Village

OS Map Reference

TL 054 980
A static map of Old Sulehay

Know before you go

85 hectares

Entry fee


Parking information

Limited parking in laybys along Sulehay Road; many public rights of way from the surrounding villages.

Grazing animals


Walking trails

Main ride is surfaced in woodland though other paths can get muddy. Quarry has uneven paths and steep slopes.




On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

All year round

About the reserve

Old Sulehay Forest is a fragment of the ancient Rockingham Forest, a royal hunting forest that extended from Wansford to Kettering. Other areas of the reserve are associated with quarrying. Stonepit Close was exploited for its limestone, while areas of Ring Haw were quarried for limestone, ironstone and silica clay; remains of the quarry railway track beds and sidings can still be seen. The area known as the Calcining Banks was used to refine extracted iron ore known as calcined ore. 

In summer, glow-worms glimmer in the longer grass. Many wildflowers found here are rare in Northamptonshire, including ploughman’s-spikenard, wild thyme, viper’s bugloss, common cudweed and yellow-wort. These attract a wide range of butterflies, such as common blue, brown argus and dingy skipper. On warm spring days look for the energetic grizzled skipper in Stonepit Close, on the disused railway or the Calcining Banks. 

Areas of scrub support birds such as whitethroat and bullfinch. Great and lesser spotted woodpeckers live in the woodland along with nuthatch and treecreeper. Invertebrates thrive on the sun-warmed paths and rides. 

To maintain the varied habitat structure most of the grassland is grazed with rare-breed sheep and cattle to maintain low soil fertility. Using wildflower seeds collected from other limestone grassland sites in the area, Sammock’s Hill was restored from arable land. It now boasts a variety of native flowers, including cowslips, bird’s-foot trefoil, knapweed broomrape and pyramidal orchids. 

Old Sulehay Forest is ancient abandoned coppice of ash, hazel, oak and field maple, with a diverse ground flora. We are reintroducing coppicing and we fell trees to maintain the wide, sunny rides favoured by wildlife – and people.

Reserve leaflet and map

Additional information

  • Old Sulehay is one of the reserves in the John Clare Living Landscape.
  • Scroll down to see the reserve boundary. Please note the boundary map is for indication purposes only and does not show the Wildlife Trusts definitive land boundary. 

FOR ANY MEDIA ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT OUR COMMUNICATIONS TEAM:   communicationsteam@wildlifebcn.org or 01954 713500 and ask for comms team.

Contact us

Contact number: 01604 405285

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Location map

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How you can help

Betony at Upwood Meadows June  - c. Robert Enderby

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