Following last year’s abortive plan (abandoned due to localised flooding) to get to an open day at a local woodland we finally made it there today and have promised ourselves more frequent visits next year and earlier in the season too. Barely a mile or two away, the 11 acre site was bought in 2007 as a neglected piece of woodland by a local couple who, through appropriate management, have been improving it as a habitat for wildlife and making it available for use by community groups. They have obviously taken advantage of any grants available but essentially have been ploughing their own money and time into the project because of a selfless and genuine desire to preserve what is a remnant of an irreplaceable ancient semi-natural woodland. Their hard work has clearly paid off as their blog informs me that they won the Royal Forestry Society Excellence in Forestry award for Small Woodlands in 2013 – not that they would wish for any accolades, I am sure.
The main woodland is predominantly oak, and whilst crunching along paths of acorns and fallen oak leaves that would have sent Chicken Licken into panic mode it was interesting to learn that historical documents have shown just how extensive the original forest had once been, as was the case throughout much of England of course. The opportunity to buy an additional 9 acres of adjacent farmland to extend the woodland was therefore too good to miss, and the more recent planting of nearly 6000 trees is an impressive undertaking, as indeed is the whole project. I used to hanker after a woodland and feel privileged to have been able to squeeze a tiny one into our own garden (albeit largely for our own pleasure) – but this woodland is something very different and there is of course no comparison. We shall be back!