Updated: Feb 21, 2019
Like all established woodland, when you walk around Vincients Wood you really feel like it is old. It's not a a large wood - at just under 6 hectares it doesn't take long to walk around but in parts it is dense and you feel enveloped in nature.
But when you look at it from the air you get a sense of claustrophobia because the nearby housing estates come right up to the edge of it and whole west side of the wood is buttressed by the A350. When walking on that side the cars are noisy, disturbing the tranquility of your walk. Walk deeper and the noise does subside.
In this image from above you can almost sense the tension between urban spread and nature's instinct to grow. The wood seems to be imposing it's will, pushing into the housing estate. The reality is the other way round of course but as this wood is owned and managed by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust it will stand strong and remain alive, and local residents will be able to walk through it in perpetuity.
The wood itself is broadleaf, with oak, ash and field maple and the medieval woodbank in the middle reveals its ancient origins. In the middle, some parts are coppiced allowing light to penetrate to the wood floor. There are two benches to be found in the wood where you can sit and enjoy the environment.
So while it is a small wood on the edge of a housing estate in Chippenham, it is worth a visit. In Japan, they have a pastime called "Forest Bathing" where people unwind and relax by walking through woods and appreciating the nature. We aren't talking about tree hugging here, just finding pockets of nature where we can all unwind from everyday life. Places like Vincients Wood are perfect for this.
You can access the wood from the end of Moss Mead in Chippenham. It is a residential street so please take care when parking.
More information and a reserve leaflet with a map of the site can be found here: Vincients Wood.
To get a sense of the scale of the site and the surrounding area, watch the video here which really helps but everything I have written here in context.