Woodlands & Nature Trails
Calne Town Council are entrusted with the care and upkeep of Quemerford Wood, a small woodland area located on the south side of town.
Quemerford Wood, also known locally as Bentley Wood, can be found on the A4 at Quemerford, opposite the Holy Trinity Church.
The woodland once formed part of the Bowood Estate and the cottage at the entrance to the woods marks the entrance to the old Bowood land. The entrance used to be enclosed with large iron gates, long since removed.
The woodland is cared for by a small team of volunteers who together form the Quemerford Wood Trust. The Trust organise events and activities throughout the year to promote the woodland and its inhabitants. The Trust also act as Stewards for the woodland, reporting any damage to the Town Council and assisting with keeping the area neat and tidy for all.
For more information on the Quemerford Wood Trust contact Martin Ruddle on 01249 813085.
Calne Nature Trail
Calne Town Council maintain the route of the Calne Nature Trail.
The trail is an enchanting woodland walk starting at Horsebrook (just off The Green) and leads you along the river to Brewers Lane (a.k.a. Piggy Hill), where a short dog-leg picks up the trail again towards Wessington Park.
A short walking trail for you and your family to enjoy.
Penn Wood - High Penn, Off Oxford Road, SN11 8RU
The area now known as Penn Wood, High Penn was purchased by Hills in the 1930’s and worked as a sandpit and then inert tip until its closure in the 1950’s following which it was restored to pasture for grazing sheep and cattle.
In June 2003 part of Penn Wood became home to a colony of 500 slow worms when they were relocated from a nearby Hills Homes development site. Hibernation mounds and heat traps were created for the slow worms, along with two ponds for frogs and toads. This area is now well established and there have been reports that grass snakes have also been seen.
In 2010 funds were secured from The Forestry Commission to plant over 10,000 trees on the site and the project to convert this former inert tip into a new nature reserve began. The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has now added Penn Wood to their Nature Reserve Portfolio and will manage the site.
Wide rides (grass pathways) have been left unplanted and the area around the lake remains unspoilt to reinforce the natural woodland habitat of bramble and hedgerow.
A variety of shrubs, wild flowers and trees including Blackthorn, Oak, Ash, Lime, Black Poplar and Downy Birch have been planted together with a small amount of Norway Spruce and Scots Pine. This planting provides a rich source of food for wildlife including insects and especially Hairstreak Butterflies, which are nationally rare. The site also includes poles to support Kestrel, Buzzard, Owls and Bat boxes whilst encouraging Roe Deer and Badgers. Other wildlife seen or heard in the area are Skylarks, Lapwings, Red Kite and Munkjac Deer. Southern Marsh Orchids and Common Spotted Orchids are flourishing on the site.
As part of their management plan the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust monitor the flora, fauna and wildlife and hope to record a more diverse range.
Members of the public who visit the site are asked to record what they see and hear and report to the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust or Wiltshire & Swindon Biological Records Centre their observations.
A new stile has been constructed on the northern side of the site to allow access from the nearby footpath.
The views from the site are stunning, south east to the Cherhill Monument, south to Morgan’s Hill and south west to Devizes.
In early 2011 Wiltshire Council Byways started work on linking High Penn to the existing network of footpaths and bridle paths. The footpaths within Penn Wood will be open all year round but the bridle path will only be open from 1st April – 31st October to prevent the ground becoming poached. It is recommended that horse riders keep to the main rides.
Wootton Bassett Angling Club leases the lake at Penn Wood maintaining the area around the lake and looking after the lake and the fish stocks living in it.
For further information please contact either The Hills Group Limited, Tel: 01672 516111 www.hills-group.co.uk or the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Tel: 01380 725670 www.wiltshirewildlife.org