Project supported by Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment
and Grundon Waste Management.
The site of this wood in Chipping Norton is a one-acre piece of the common land, through which flows the Common Brook. It is bounded to the north by the Worcester Road (A44) and to the east by Station Road and there were some existing mature trees, mostly near the roadsides. For years it had been a wasteland wilderness and had at different times been proposed as a skateboard park and as a site for office buildings and industrial units.
In 2013 and 2014, Chippy Green Gym cleared the thickly overgrown site and has planted upwards of 400 trees, which will create a mixed broad-leaf wood.
Clearance work involved removing fallen trees, brambles, and dense willow herb and invasive Himalayan balsam. Due to the change in land use the balsam has not regrown.
Planting took place in December 2014 and January 2015. One factor influencing the choice of species was the poor drainage at the lower end of the site.
In the main part of the wood, there are hazel, hornbeam, small-leaved lime, and English oak. Unfortunately, ash could not be added to the list due to a government ban on movement of the species, ravaged by Chalara fungal disease (ash dieback) which has now spread throughout the British Isles.
Space was left to form a central glade, which is edged with crab apple, silver birch, dog rose, more red dogwood, and a couple of spindle trees.
To involve younger members of the local community in the project, we invited a group of schoolchildren to get some hands-on experience of tree-planting.
After much hard work on the project, leader Richard Averill spent an enjoyable time guiding the children through the process. A good time was had by all!
Most of the trees planted have thrived, there having been few losses.
The aim is to create rotational pollarding and coppicing, particularly of the willow and hazel, to provide wood for many different purposes. One of the uses is shown below. Any income produced from the Wood will assist in the maintenance of the town’s common land, which constitutes such a vital part of our community’s natural heritage.
In 2019 we began a project to introduce selected native wildflowers not already present in the wood, and also to boost the population of some species that do exist.