Our projects

 

Penn & Common Wood, Amersham – Improving Access for All

 

The Woodland Trust undertook these improvement works at Penn and Common Woods, near Amersham and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire

The woods were once part of a large common called Wycombe Heath. They are rich in biodiversity and history with a wide range of species and archaeological features evident, and so appeal to a wide interest.

Penn Wood is one of the largest ancient woodlands in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It has a long history, and a herd of cows is still used to manage part of the site – echoing more traditional methods of management. The wood is well known for its bluebell displays in the spring and red kites are often seen flying overhead.

The project’s various improvements made the woodland more accessible, especially during the autumn and winter when previous paths became boggy and impassable.

Over 1.5km of hard surfaced paths were laid to make the woods accessible to everyone, including wheelchair and mobility carriage users and people with prams and pushchairs. New welcome signs were installed.

The Woodland Trust worked in partnership with the Penn and Tylers Green Residents Society, a community group managing Common Wood, to help plan the work. The improvements were part of an ongoing programme to improve the wood.

Also, Penn and Common Wood have a strong community focus, but before the Woodland Trust embarks on projects like this, they ask what people feel. The organisation used questionnaires locally to gauge the need and what people wanted.

The trust also talked with the representative bodies in the Chilterns such as the Chilterns Conservation Board and other political groups, to ensure they were  going in the right direction. They also asked people in the community their views and one of the major issues that came up was the difficulty of walking in the winter and wet times due to the waterlogging of some of the paths. Access by so many people brought its own issues as it compounded the problem and the paths were getting wider and wider.

The path structure is the longest for the less able in the Chilterns, straight off a safe parking area.