Hayes Furlong Wood is Belchford and Fulletby’s shared Community Woodland.

Some years ago, Dennis Richardson, a local farmer, left one of his arable fields, known as “Hayes Furlong”, in his will, to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.  This field, which extends to approximately 5 acres is in an elevated location at the boundary between the parishes of Belchford and Fulletby.

For some years after Mr Richardson’s death, the field remained uncultivated and nature started to take over.  Belchford & Fulletby Parish Council approached the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, to see whether they would grant the Council a lease and allow them to develop the field as a wildlife-focussed community woodland.  The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust agreed that this would be a suitable use of the site and a long-term lease was agreed in November 2019.

Since the lease with the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust was agreed, volunteers from Belchford and Fulletby have recreated the historic raised boundary hedge that defines the boundary between the two parishes.  Local volunteers have also planted more than 400 young trees on the site.  Most of those trees have been supplied by charitable partner organisations, businesses and generous individuals.  Fruit trees have been planted to create a community orchard.

Broad mown paths have been created to allow any members of the public easy access to the site, but most of the naturally regenerating grasses and wildflowers have largely been left alone to provide habitat for ground-nesting birds and shelter for small mammals such as field voles.

During the time the land was neglected it became infested with ragwort, which is an invasive flowering plant species that is toxic to farm animals, but provides food for butterflies.  Volunteers from the community have worked hard to keep the ragwort population at an appropriate level.

A pond has been dug in a naturally wet area at the bottom of the site and trees that thrive in damp conditions have been planted nearby.  Piles of brash have been built to provide safe homes for small birds and hedgehogs.

A distinctive, spiral-shaped dark skies observatory shelter has been built with the aid of funding provided by the Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Agency.  This structure has been built by volunteers, using natural timbers for its frame and locally-sourced waste small branches and sticks to fill in its walls.  Several benches have been placed around and within the structure.  As the site enjoys dark skies, these include two reclined benches that have been designed especially for stargazing.

During the short time the site has been managed for wildlife, the diversity of plant, bird, insect and mammal species has increased noticeably.

Hayes Furlong Wood is open to the public all year round and everyone is welcome.  The site is popular with people of all ages and provides a great setting for adventurous children to explore.

Bird watchers and other nature lovers enjoy seeing the common and, occasionally, rare creatures and plants that live in the Community Woodland.

Dog walkers also use the site.  Dog-waste bags and a bin are provided close to the lower entrance to the site.  Please note that dogs should be kept on leads between March and July to avoid disturbing ground-nesting birds.

The shelter, close to the centre of the woodland, is a calm quiet place to sit and chat, enjoy a picnic or take in the view across the valley.

The open spaces in Hayes Furlong Wood are used for community events, which have included a community BBQ with Morris dancing, “silent dance” evenings and children’s camps.


Aerial view of Hayes Furlong Wood looking north toward Belchford


Oak entrance arch to Hayes Furlong Wood


Raised hawthorn hedgerow planted at the woods boundary


Tree planting in Hayes Furlong Wood


Trees planted in wildflower meadow


A spotted orchid growing in Hayes Furlong Wood


Dark skies observatory shelter


Benches within the dark skies observatory


Art created by children using the woodland site


Community BBQ to celebrate the opening of the wood


Morris dancing at the community BBQ


A children’s camp held in the wood in summer 2022