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Poors Acre, Herefordshire

A veiw across the dense woodland at Poors Acre with a road running along the right hand side
A stretch of road running alongside Poors Acre | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Poors Acre is part of Haugh Wood, a semi-natural ancient woodland near Hereford, which has been designated as a SSSI due to its rich variety of invertebrate fauna.


While the earliest written mention of 'Poor’s Acre Wood' is featured on the Tithe map of 1843, the name is suspected to have been in use since as early as the 13th century. During the reign of King Henry III of England, a "certain dangerous pass" had been described in Woolhope, where highway robberies had become a common occurrence.

In 1234 AD, Henry III ordered the felling of the wood on either side of the road to prevent these dangerous robberies from taking place. This area of the woodland was later given to the locals to keep the area clear, explaining the origins of the name ‘Poor’s Acre’. A substantial holloway still runs the length of the wood, representing the original Mordiford to Woolhope road, a route possibly in existence since before the medieval period.

The woodland floor at Poor's Acre with trees, moss and other vegetation and a slight trench
A section of Holloway that forms part of the original Mordiford to Woolhope road | © National Trust Images/John Miller


Poor’s Acre lies within Haugh Wood, a woodland designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to its rich variety of invertebrate fauna. This woodland is the best place in Herefordshire for spotting butterflies and moths, with over 650 recorded species, including 29 species which do not occur anywhere else in the country.

Notable rare species include:

  • High brown fritillary (Argynnis adippe)
  • The pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly (Boloria Euphrosyne)
  • Wood white butterfly (Leptidea sinapsis)
  • Lunar hornet clearwing moth (Sesia bembeciformis)
  • Triple spotted pug (Eupithecia trisignaria)

In addition to the wide variety of butterflies and moths, several nationally rare species of craneflies and the fringe-horned mason bee species (Osmia pilicornis) have also been recorded within Haugh Wood. Poor’s Acre itself is known for being an ancient semi-natural sessile oak woodland, supporting several species of nationally scarce and uncommon wood-decay invertebrates.

Small Pearl bordered Fritillary, Sherbrook Valley, Shugborough Estate, Staffordshire
Small Pearl bordered Fritillary butterfly | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman
A path leading into a leafy glade dappled with sunlight, a shrub with pink flowers in the middle with blue flowers below

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