Reprinted from Newsletter 96, dated 2000 July–August

Loxley Wood purchased for public

About a year ago, it was brought to the attention of the Conservation Society’s committee that Loxley Wood was for sale to the Woodland Trust for £56,000, and that pledges were being sought to help with the purchase.

Loxley Wood is an ancient woodland site on the Polden Hills between Moorlinch and Shapwick. Evidence shows that it has existed since before 1515 when a survey showed it consisting of oak, pasture and undergrowth.

A hand-drawn map of Loxley Wood and the surrounding roads. The main entrance to the wood is at its northwest side, and a curved track runs from here to the old entrance on the south side. A footpath joins the southeast corner and runs north to a road which leads to Catcot and Edington to the northwest, and to the A39 to the southeast. Running along the south edge of the wood is the A39, with Bridgwater to the west and Street and Glastonbury to the east. Some “informal parking” and a signpost reading “Shapwick” is indicated at the west tip of the wood, where the A39 makes a T-junction with the road running along the northwest edge of the wood, which runs northeast towards Shapwick.

Loxley Wood, north of the A39 about halfway to Bridgwater, has stood for 400 years or more.

It is situated on the northern side of A39 Bridgwater road for about half a mile east from the junction of the road off to Shapwick, about 7¼ miles from Glastonbury Market Cross. The 53-acre site contains an area of neglected conifer planted after most of the oak woodland was felled in 1967. Some of the ancient woodland still remains.

After much careful deliberation, the committee voted to pledge £500 from our tree-planting funds.

Now purchased, the wood is open to the public, and will be managed by thinning, and gradually replacing the conifer with native broadleaf species. Natural regeneration in this wood can be difficult because deer graze the area. There is no intention to replace the conifer in wholesale clearance operations; it is of very little commercial value.

The Woodland Trust’s normal policy is to invite members of the local community to attend and assist in planting saplings grown by the trust, but it foresees no objection for others, such as ourselves, from organizing, in cooperation with the Loxley Wood manager, planting schedules in the cleared areas with their own trees, or generally assisting in work in the wood.

In this venture, the townsfolk of Glastonbury can enjoy and experience the regeneration of a wonderful woodland on their doorstep, and the Conservation Society is happy to have contributed.