One of the most frequently asked questions when visitors explore the Heart of England Forest is how some of the woods on our trails acquired their names. So, here’s a little information on the designations so far…
It will come as no surprise, in an area rich in history, that many of the names have deep roots, but some have more recent origins. When Forest Founder Felix Dennis first began to realise his dream of planting a massive new broadleaf woodland, he regularly paid tribute to those close to him and who helped him achieve his vision.
Visitors roaming around our Dorsington Wood trail (some of which encompasses the Family Trail) will come across a number of different woodland names. For example, those entering from the Barton car park will immediately come into Dorothy’s Wood, named in tribute to Felix’s beloved mother, before passing through Robert’s Wood (after the family that previously owned the land) and marvelling at the delights of Colletts Wood, named after the farm housing our headquarters. Near the end of the walk is Roman Field Wood, where legend has it that archaeological evidence of the presence of Roman dwellers was once discovered.
Ralph’s Wood, is the first wood Felix caused to be planted and can be accessed via permissive paths off the Heart of England Way. It was Felix’s nod to Ralph Potter, the first forester to begin planting the Heart of England Forest. Another not presently on the waymarked trails – Beck’s Wood – was named after Felix’s pet dog!
The Braggington Lane car park marks the start of the Coxmere Wood walk. The very beginning of the trail is denoted by Melski’s Wood, dedicated to the wife of one of the Heart of England Forest’s notable supporters, while Coxmere itself takes its name from the stretch of mature coppice adjoining it.
Between Dorsington and Long Marston lies one of our founder’s favourite pieces of woodland. Follow in Felix’s footsteps and it’s easy to see why Giddings Wood captured his heart. Named after the farmer who had previously owned the land, features include the Noleham Brook and Giddings Barn, and the walk offers some delightful opportunities to spot wildlife – keep an eye out for the owl boxes on this gentle walk.
So, the next time you are strolling through the Heart of England Forest, you’ll no longer need to wonder how the various woodlands got their names – each is developing its own personality and soon you’ll be old friends!