Wheathampstead Heritage: Virtual Museum Exhibit
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Stocking Springs Wood is an ancient woodland that is now a nature reserve managed by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust. “Stocking” means “stumps”.
The wood is divided into sections which are coppiced in a traditional rotation system so that each tree is coppiced once every sixteen years in a regime that was established in 1989, so you can see trees at different stages in the coppicing cycle. This encourages diversity of plants and wildflowers such as native bluebells and wild daffodils, wood anemone, wood violets, early purple orchids and yellow archangel. The taller oak trees provide nesting sites for many species of birds including nuthatch, great spotted woodpecker and tree creeper.
For further information about Stocking Springs, follow this link:
After crossing the Codicote Road, you will walk along a further stretch of the bridleway, which continues to follow the eleventh century parish boundary. The woodland on your left, with many overgrown coppice stools, was managed in the late 19th and early 20th century by George Wren, a resident of Wheathampstead and grandfather of local historian Amy Coburn. Her book George and Henry (Wheathampstead Local History Group 1992) gives a vivid account of his life and times, together with that of her other grandfather, Henry Hobbs, who was coachman at the Lamer estate.
The first wood is named ‘Dowdell's Wood'. This merges into Fish Wood, named after a family called Fyshe who owned it in the 14th century. Note in particular the large earthbank just inside the wood with the remains of a laid hornbeam hedge. This bank continues almost all the way to the Ayot Greenway and marks an ancient boundary.
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Date Created: 09/03/2013 11:55:48, by: patrick Date last edited: 25/02/2014 11:03:34, by: patrick