Wayland Wood

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Wayland Wood, early spring

Wayland Wood is an ancient woodland near to Watton in Norfolk, England. Although the name has been claimed as a corruption of 'Wailing Wood', Wayland is the name of an historic Norfolk hundred, within the area of which the wood stands.[1]


The wood covers an area of 34 hectares and is located 1 km south of the town of Watton, Norfolk on the A1075 road to Thetford. It is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and features oak, ash, hazel and bird cherry trees, and is also the home to a golden pheasant population.[2] The wood is also the only known location in Norfolk where the Yellow Star of Bethlehem grows.[3][4]

Babes in the Wood[edit]

Watton Town Sign

Wayland Wood is also the setting of the centuries-old tale of Babes in the Wood, a brother and sister who were abandoned to die in the woodland. The legend tells that these two children were left in the care of their uncle at Griston Hall on the edge of the woods, following the death of their parents. On reaching maturity they were to inherit their father's fortune, but should they pass before this time the wealth would go directly to the uncle. The uncle abandons the two children to stake his claim to the wealth. In 1879, the tree that the babes had reputedly been left under was struck by lightning.[5] The strength of the legend had grown to such an extent that people visited the area for souvenirs.


Coordinates: 52°33′37″N 0°50′21″E / 52.560315°N 0.839050°E / 52.560315; 0.839050