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the Eynsham Wood

autumn in the Wood

Right now it's autumn in Eynsham Wood - so there are wonderful colours - and lots of fruit - especially sloes (in the hedges round the wood as well as in the wood itself), and apples.

Sloe gin (or brandy, or vodka) is easy to make (click here for a recipe - put the sloes in a freezer rather than

pricking them individually) - but you have to buy the gin or brandy first, so it's not that cheap. It takes it at least three months to make - and then it's best to leave it for a year. If you can find nice, smallish, bottles, it makes a good present - and if the bottles are small enough, not that pricey !

the story of the Wood

At the end of 2002, between 250 - 300 people - many of them families with young children - planted over 2,500 trees in two and a half hours to start the Eynsham Wood.

A 13-acre field was been purchased by The Woodland Trust as part of it's Woods-on-your-Doorstep project - set up to create 200 woods, around towns and villages in England and Wales, by the Millennium. In fact the land at Eynsham is the 200th wood !

One of the purposes of the project is to increase new native woodland – so the majority of the 9,000 trees planted are broad-leaved species that are already growing well in the area.

type of trees
The site is not only on the edge of the village but also on the edge of the ancient Wychwood Forest, and the species chosen reflect its location. The main types are oak and ash, with field maple, wild cherry, and crab apple. A few disease-resistant elm, walnut, bullace and old varieties of fruit trees are planted in prominent places along the ride edges.

Shrubs planted along the path edges, include hazel, spindle, hawthorn, blackthorn, buckthorn and wild privet . All of these can be found in nearby hedgerows. The existing hedges bordering the field are being maintained as tall bushy features to enhance their value as wildlife corridors. Several oaks are planted along the boundaries as marker trees - they may be pollarded in the future.

Two or three areas of hazel have been planted with a view to managing it as coppice which is much in demand by local craftsmen for hurdle-making, thatching spars, pea-sticks etc.

All the saplings are protected from rabbits with guards and planted in species groups of 20 - 30 in parallel curved lines to give a random appearance. Deer fencing has not been erected, but obviously any damage caused by deer is being closely monitored, and the Woodland Trust works in close liaison with existing deer management groups in the area.

Millennium Feature
A number of ideas involving special trees, view points, glades and seats were popular on the questionnaires returned by members of the Eynsham Society. Several of these have been incorporated into the Millennium Feature - a central glade with a group of locally distinctive fruit trees and a seat with views over to the village and Wytham Woods beyond.

Taking many suggestions into account, circular routes have been created to include glades, wide shrub-edged 'rides' (or paths), and narrower winding paths. Along one of the main rides, there are good views of both the village of Eynsham and Wytham Woods. There is an information board explaining the background to the project, and showing what the Wood will look like at various points in time in the future (though, rather curiously, the church in the background of the artist's impresion looks more like Witney than Eynsham).

The purchase was made possible by sponsorship from Homebase. The design has been drawn up taking the local landscape, village needs and site-specific factors into account. Ideas and advice have been gleaned from a number of sources - including the Eynsham Society, the Wychwood Project, and the Oxfordshire Woodland Project

If you have any queries relating to the design, please contact Janet Watt, Woodland Consultant on 01223 513 243.

map of wood