Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet

Spouses Vale





Spouses Vale is an ancient woodland, managed and owned by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust
Location of Spouses Vale and directions from Bures Village.

Location:-Ordnance Survey map reference TL930362
Walks: 2 Circular walks
Conditions: Woodland and field edge paths, entrance very wet, marsh and boggy. Suitable footwear essential.
Access: This site is not suitable for wheelchair access, it requires a 500m walk down a farm track to gain entrance to the wood.
Managed by:- Suffolk Wildlife Trust

How to get there:-
By Road: Take the Assington Rd out of Bures, After 2 miles pass under power lines and take right turn, signposted "Arger Fen and Wormingford".
Continue down past `Moors Farm to find "Footpath" sign on left side of road. Farm track leads down to the wood.
Car Parking
:- Very limited off road space adjacent to footpath sign. Non secure area. Lock Cars.
Recommended Car Park and walk
Use Assington Village Hall Car Park
Turn left out of Car Park then after 100 yards take gravel track signposted Assington Mill.
Eventually the gravel track takes a sharp left down to the Mill, instead continue on the footpath directly in front of you
This will take you to Spouses Grove

Although not strictly speaking located in Bures but Assington, it forms part of the Arger Fen Wood.

spouses spouses

The Woodland has an interesting mix of tree species, including oak, ash, field maple, holly and crab apple. In addition there are wild cherry, large alders and very old hazel. The spring visit is the most rewarding with a wonderful show of bluebells, accompanied by the magical song of nightingales.

Survey work has revealed the presence of the scarce yellow necked mouse and even rarer dormouse.

Spouse Vale forms part of the Arger Fen site of Special Site of Scientific Interest. The wood once was a mix of species rich fen meadows and broadleaf woodland. It then became overgrown with scrub due to the lack of grazing and was also planted with conifers.
Despite this, the meadows of Spouses Vale remain largely intact and were acquired by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust as a gift in 1998. The Trust is restoring the meadows to their former glory through a program of scrub clearance, mowing and grazing.

The meadows are kept wet by spring flushes on the mid slopes, here sandy gravel meets peat, ideal for wetland plants, dragonflies, amphibians and many species of butterflies including the meadow brown and orange tip.
The butterflies to look out for in the woodland include the speckled wood, meadow brown, holly blue and comma.

The old hawthorn hedgeline and track in the middle of the wood dates from the 19th century.

Misses Edith and Frances Vale generously purchased the reserve for the Suffolk Wildlife Trust back in 1998. Subsequently the reserve was renamed from Spouses Grove to Spouses Vale, in recognition of this donation.

The work to maintain the site is made possible by the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, MAFF, English Nature, Francis Vale and a dedicated host of volunteers.

There is no public access to the adjacent meadows.

Spring Bluebells

View Photo Album

Link to Suffolk Wildlife Trust.
Acknowledgment to Suffolk Wildlife Trust for text
Photos by Alan Beales,
updated May 2019