Duck Wood

Duck Wood, Brafferton, near Boroughbridge, Easingwold and Thirsk, North Yorkshire |


At the edge of a planted ancient woodland site (PAWS), Duck Wood feels sheltered and private.

On arriving at the ride-stop, the well established duck pond is immediately obvious, complete with island, duck house, nesting perches and predator-proof fencing around the perimeter. This man-made pond is shaped from the natural clay soils, holding water and attracting wildfowl all year round.

The southern boundary of the wood, leading away from the pond, has a belt of mature Corsican pine trees, frequented by feeding flocks of tits who pass through seeking insect food in the canopy.

A seasonal watercourse crosses the wood from north-west to south-east; this forms a short section of the boundary. East of the watercourse, the wood is quite open with bracken and grasses and young willows and birches. A couple of cleared routes cross this area and give access to a grassy ride alongside the drain.

A sweeping route arcs through Duck Wood from the northern boundary and this is awash with bluebells and then foxgloves in the spring and early summer. On both sides of this grassy track the main southern block is coppiced willows, birch, alder and hazel with occasional tall oaks and poplar. To the west, there are quite a few maturing pines, planted around 30 years ago.

Close to the boundaries there are some very large old trees, spreading oaks and birch along with hawthorn, blackthorn and wild roses, relishing the conditions at the edge of the wood and having borne witness to several generations of conifers come and go, no doubt. There are some particularly lovely oaks along the north- western edge where the wood adjoins what was once a railway line but now is the neighbouring farmer’s private access track.

Beyond the south western boundary, the land is used as a course fishing lake, amongst mature trees.

The purchasers of the woodland will be asked to enter into a covenant to ensure the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of adjoining woodlands and meadows.


The most mature trees are oaks, birch and Corsican pine. Almost as old, the coppiced hazel and goat willow will have been cut back for many decades, possibly even centuries.

There is a good mix of broadleaved trees in addition to the above, including poplar, alder, hawthorn and blackthorn.


Duck Wood is really excellent for wildlife. The pond had a greylag goose and a more common mallard duck nesting last breeding season: the watercourse is a real draw for birds and mammals. The denser coppice areas and birch regeneration give great cover for wrens, robins, blackbirds, pheasants, woodcock and summer visitors, such as warblers and chiffchaffs fill the wood with their territorial songs.

Roe deer and brown hare can be spotted from time to time and buzzards are frequently overhead and using the large woodland edge-trees as perches.

Tawny owls are resident in the wood and are often heard calling as dusk falls. Earlier in the year, when feeding young, they may also call in daylight hours too.


  • Duck pond
  • Old coppice
  • Boundary oaks
  • Swathes of bluebells
  • Broadleaved tree mix
  • Bench overlooking a glade

Access, tracks and footpaths

A good stone track leads all the way to the ride-stop entrance to Duck Wood. This track continues on as a grassy track, along the northern boundary, with a right of access along its length.

Several internal paths give options for accessing different parts of the wood, including a grass track on the northern side of the watercourse and a couple of timber bridges that cross this and have paths leading into the coppice.

Rights and covenants

The sale of Duck Wood includes the sporting rights

There are no public rights of way within the wood, or indeed within the wider forest.

The purchasers of the woodland will be asked to enter into a covenant to ensure the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of adjoining woodlands and meadows.


Duck Wood is ideal for purchasers interested in conservation, perhaps setting up trail cameras along some of the main routes in the wood or a hide near the pond.

For those who like to be hands-on with their wood, birch could be thinned for firewood and new tree planting could further diversify the age and species range. An area including the old hazel and willow coppice stools could be restored to a 7-10 year rotation for poles for use in the kitchen garden or allotment or sold as materials for hedge-layers. Some sensitive ‘halo’ thinning could also be done around the old oak trees.

Local area and history

Set in a lovely rural location between the market towns of Boroughbridge and Easingwold the local area is rich in history; Viking, Roman and Neolithic. Brafferton Spring Wood, which Duck Wood is part of was once at the edge of a huge Royal hunting forest, the Forest of Gaultres, which stretched from the city walls of York all the way to Easingwold.

Share this
Posted in Wildfeed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *