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Greyfield Wood

Picture of Greyfield Wood

Greyfield Wood is situated at the west end of Beenham Village. The lease for the wood was purchased in 1995 by the Beenham Investment Group and now managed by Greyfield Wood Community Interest Company.

Greyfield Wood covers 37 acres and is a mix of ancient woodland and commercial trees. It offers a large and varied habitat for a wide range of animals, birds and butterflies. 37 species of birds and at least 14 species of butterflies have been seen in the wood. Our woodland is managed by volunteers and villagers are encouraged to use this lovely amenity at every opportunity.

There is a stream to “puddle” around in, well-trodden paths through the heart of the wood and every likelihood of seeing deer, grey squirrels and recent activity by badgers. The plants on display vary with the season – bluebells, wild orchids, ferns, brambles and holly in the winter.

Walkers, joggers and responsible dog walkers are very welcome. There is, however, no bridleway through Greyfield Wood.  Also, please note that there are no parking spaces near the wood.

Click here for a handy downloadable PDF guide and map to Greyfield Wood.

There is always lots of activity in the woods. Look here at some of the tree planting activities.

Current News
Our Open Day will take place on Sunday 19 September from 2pm to 5pm.  We are planning the popular guided walk, a demonstration of scything and woodland craft and a children's activity area.  Everyone welcome, come and see what is happening in the community woodland.  For more information please contact Mike at greyfieldwoodcic@gmail.com.

We are delighted to tell you that Greyfield Wood Community Interest Company, (CIC), has taken over the lease of Greyfield Wood from Beenham Investment Group Ltd, (BIG), which has managed the wood since 1995. The transfer took place on Monday 12th July 2021.

We are very grateful for the many donations from Beenham Parishioners and local businesses, as well as the support from Greenham Common Trust. It is those contributions which have enabled us in the CIC to acquire the lease from BIG.

Beenham Investment Group Ltd has handed over the 37 acres of woodland in an excellent condition. This comes from the sterling efforts of its directors, ably assisted by volunteers and outside volunteer groups. The good forestry work will continue, particularly the replacement of the mature conifer plantations with broad leaf species.

Three of the BIG directors have become founder directors of the CIC. This provides continuity and retention of knowledge. The other BIG directors have become life members of the CIC and will be retaining their association with the wood in that capacity. The opportunity to become a member of the CIC is open to all local adult residents* and we hope that many of you will choose to support your local community woodland in this manner.

For the future, we plan for life to go on as usual . You can find out more about those plans at our Open Day that will be held on the afternoon of Sunday September 19th, in Greyfield Wood.

The Directors of Greyfield Wood CIC.

*You can download an application from our Blog where you can also keep up to date on what s been happening in Greyfield Wood.

Woodland features
The wood contains a mix of two conifer plantations (Norway spruce and Corsican pine) and broadleaf trees. The conifer plantations are now mature and are gradually being harvested commercially to be replaced by broadleaf species. All the felling and clearing is managed through a Management Plan which has been agreed by the Forestry Commission.
There are many examples of sweet chestnut, oak, robel beech, alder and many other species. A tree diversity program is encouraged as mitigation against disease which hits standing trees. The major concern at present is ash die-back which is damaging so many of our glorious ash trees.
Coppicing is now being reintroduced for both hazel and sweet chestnut. Sweet chestnut was traditionally used for fence posts and some of the fencing around St Mary’s church in the village comes from Greyfield Wood. Hazel is just great for supporting your climbing beans, peas or perennials in your garden. The planted mountain ash/rowan in the wide ride has mases of bright orange berries until later in the year when the local and migrating birds from further north feed on them.

Nearer the ground

There are numerous plants which indicate that Greyfield Wood is an ancient woodland. Brambles and ferns thrive in the wood and considerable effort is made to clear the paths and ‘rides’ (wide bendy paths, maybe three meters wide which run throughout the wood) so that walkers can enjoy the ambience of the environment. Some timber will be left rotting on the ground to encourage beetles and fungi; occasional piles of branches give small mammals cover from predators, as do the ‘dead hedges’. Brambles in flower attract many different butterflies and provide berries as food for wildlife in autumn.
The ground covering is being managed providing warm light sheltered glades so that flowering plants are encouraged. The area along the stream is rich in flowers while bluebells, primroses, violets, celandines, wood anemones and stitchwort, abound throughout the broadleaf parts of the wood in the Springtime. The foxgloves filling the glades later and then the fragrant honeysuckle climbs over any low bush or tree.
The more open areas of the wood promote flowers, butterflies and moths; the light can get through to the ground much better now that the conifers are being replaced allowing regeneration from the seed bank. White admiral and fritillary butterflies have been seen, now that the habitat has been improved, as have the eggs of the drab Luther moth. The eco system has been steadily improving as the woodland management plan is being carried out. There are wild raspberries and wild strawberry plants but can you find them?

Look for the roe deer, muntjacs and foxes in the wood although they can be hard to spot but you can follow the deer slot prints where they cross the stream. Badger sets are obvious from the quantities of earth spread around them. They emerge at sunset but you must wait down wind and be as quiet as mice not to frighten them. Nesting boxes for various birds have been introduced sometimes even used by bumble bees, and look out for the ‘bug hotels’ to encourage beetles. Grey squirrels are abundant and make good chasing for the more energetic dogs who enjoy regular exercise in the wood with their owners. In the autumn the squirrels hide sweet chestnuts which are abundant, for their winter larder. The hazel nuts are also eaten by the tiny secretive dormouse.

Annual Open Day

Greyfield Wood Annual Open Day
There is an Open Day in the spring with the opportunity to join guided walks and to see woodland craft demonstrations. Children are welcome and have their own activities to enjoy. Tea and cakes are also made available. However, the main focus is for everyone to come and enjoy the ever-changing aspects in the wood itself. Please come and see for yourself.

Volunteering to help
A local volunteer group meets most months during the year on a Saturday. The volunteers carry out light work, sometimes in the sunshine and sometimes in the rain! Much of this work is to plant and then look after new saplings, or to build up the ‘dead hedges’ which are so valuable in supporting the small mammal and insect life in the wood.
Other volunteer groups from outside the village also offer their help on a regular basis and are most welcome.

Volunteers at Greyfiel Wood
For more information on how you can enjoy this rural woodland, or if you are interested helping us protect our woodlands for future generations, please email us at greyfieldwoodcic@gmail.com


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