Updated: May 21
If you look at Green Lane Wood from the air it looks like a place under pressure from urbanisation. The North East corner is dissected by the busy A350, separating a chunk of this wood from its parent. There is a wide channel which cuts right through the heart of it with trees felled and wildlife constantly cut back to house the electricity pylons that run through it. Then there are the sprawling housing estates of Paxcroft and Castle Mead where developers want to push the houses to within 100 metres of the wood itself.
Yet this wood still stands firm and proud, and nature refuses to release itself from this magnificent site. It is an ancient oak woodland and as you walk around it does feel established and reassuringly old. To the north is a medieval woodbank on the boundary, and nearby Clanger Wood has provenance back to 1086. It's wide avenues make walking easy but there are plenty of tributary paths to take you deeper in, and the size of it (91 hectares) means you can quickly escape the noise of the road, the pylons, civilisation itself. To circumnavigate it on foot takes around 40 minutes and is a 2 mile hike. It is possible to extend the walk across the field by the south exit and continue on into Biss Woods, extending the walk by another mile.
In spring, carpets of bluebells and wild primula announce the age and majesty of this wood. Butterflies abound as the trees grow their impressive foliage and enter into summer. Autumn brings growth of fungi and Winter provides mud which makes walking impossible without wellington boots. At dusk, rare Bechstein bats appear to feed on insects and you will often see Roe deer. For the keen eyed, you might spot a small pond off the main ride that runs North to South through the wood. This is actually a crater from a stray World War Two bomb, which becomes a pond in the winter and a dry crater in the summer.
While this might look like a place under pressure from urban encroachment, you do not feel it as you walk around. This wood feels strong, established and with the support of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust it will continue to thrive as a wood that is enjoyed by the local community.
The wood is accessible on foot from the Castle Mead housing area. Parking is available near the Co-Op on Huntingfield - postcode BA14 6GP. Access used to be possible from the A350 but this route appears to be closed off now.
The north entrance to the wood is adjacent to Green Lane in Trowbridge but be warned, if you drive down Green Lane you will only get halfway there as the road becomes a footpath which can also be accessed from the Paxcroft Mead housing estate. A half mile walk down the lane will get you there.
In the summer months youngsters will use the wood in the evening to camp which sometimes brings some noise but any waste is usually dealt with very quickly by the volunteers to who come in every week. It is great to see young people enjoying the outdoors but I wish they would leave their camp sites as they found them.
More information and a reserve leaflet with a map of the site can be found here: Green Lane Wood