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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 May 2006, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
Ancient woodland opens to public
Female Barbastelle bat   Ian Davidson-Watts
The wood is one of the best sites for Barbastelle in Suffolk
An ancient woodland was officially opened to the public on Saturday after being bought by a wildlife trust.

Captains Wood in Sudbourne near Orford has been turned into a nature reserve by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust after an appeal raised 35,000.

The wood which covers 56 hectares (138 acres) is the largest remnant of a once extensive wood which covered several hundred acres near the Suffolk coast.

It is one of the most important barn owl breeding grounds in the county.

Barbastelle bat

Surveys have also revealed seven bat species at the site, one of which - the barbastelle - is a species highlighted for special conservation action by the government.

It is among Britain's rarest bats and the wood is one of the best sites for it in the county.

"The open landscape with its drifts of bluebells, ancient pollards and herds of fallow deer offers an experience of wildness unique in Suffolk," says Kerry Stranix from the trust.

"This wood used to be in private ownership with no public access and was one of the county's best kept secrets," she added.

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