Woodland Heritage in Action

Woodland Heritage in Action focuses on the historical significance of woodland for the cultural, environmental and economic well-being of Peterborough. 

Bretton’s Ancient Woods, to the East of Peterborough and once part of William the Conqueror’s Royal Rockingham Forest, are being made more accessible to the public thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project, run in partnership with Peterborough City Council, will see this ancient urban woodland restored and made fully accessible for the first time in over 75 years.

The aim is to connect people with the natural and cultural heritage of woods. For example, up until the 1930s Peterborough had a thriving basket-weaving industry, making use of the willows that grew in the wet woodlands. The project will help to revive some of these ancient skills.

There will be community participation and educational opportunities. In addition to this – and through using traditional woodland management and conservation techniques - the project will help encourage a greater diversity of flora and fauna.

Local schools and communities will have the opportunity to learn traditional skills associated with woodlands, such as practical woodland management, woodcraft, and bush craft.

The woods provide a therapeutic and relaxing setting for individuals and groups to gain a greater understanding of their surrounding environment.  The heritage of woodland skills, coppicing, and willow weaving are important in any vision for a sustainable future.

The project will see the 23.3 hectare semi-natural ancient urban woodland restored and made fully accessible for the first time in over 75 years. The site, which is made up of Grimeshaw Woods, Pocock’s Wood, and Highlees Spinney, is home to many rare species most notably the greater butterfly orchid as well as a wealth of veteran oaks, ground flora, bats, birds, invertebrates and fungi. 

For more information about the project, visit www.nenecoppicingandcrafts.co.uk.