Transcript from leaflet published by Coventry City Council published July 2003
People living in Coventry are fortunate in having extensive areas of woodland within easy access. Many are ancient woods (areas which have been under native tree cover since the year 1600). They are well established and many have remained unaltered for years. Over the centuries these woods have provided landowners with timber for building, fencing, farm implements and fuel. They were also used as game reserves or as 'pannage' for swine, from which Pig Wood derives its name (see Pig Wood section)
The character of the woods was preserved because as trees were felled, others were planted - hence the name Plants Hill Wood - meaning 'Plantation on the Hill'.
All the woods are a haven for walkers, birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts, each wood having a network of paths and rides. Paths take you alongside ponds rich in plankton and insect life; through the tree-lined avenues, providing shelter from sun, wind and rain, while nature's minstrels whistle and sing to you on your way. However, you must keep a sharp look-out for the woodland's quieter and shyer creatures, such as wood mice, foxes, squirrels, moles and snakes.
Whatever time of year it is, you will see things of beauty and interest. Brightly coloured wild flowers in the spring and summer; fleeting butterflies, many shades of green, gold and brown foliage in the autumn and winter.
The wood is situated between Hawthorn Lane and Banner Lane. This wood has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is stewarded by the Coventry and District Natural History and Scientific Society. It is a mixed deciduous and coniferous woodland covering 69.92 acres, with many excellent examples of Norway Spruce, European Larch and Hazel coppice.
Lying 400 ft above sea level, it slopes gently to the South.
The wood is noted for its rich flora and fauna which has been the subject of much study by the Society.
During World War II large areas of scrub and conifers were cleared to reduce the risk of fire from air-raids.
The uprooting of 5 acres of mature Spruce during the cyclonic gale of March 1947, the clearance of conifers and planting of young trees over several years, have all helped to alter the ecological balance of the Reserve.
A point of interest is Keepers Meadow, shown on the map, having a canopy comprising mainly Sycamore, Oak, Spruce, Birch. Chestnut, Ash and Pine. This was unplanted land in 1776.
This name relates to the use of this wood for the grazing of swine. The right to graze swine on fallen acorns and Beech mast in woodlands was known as 'pannage' and the Doomsday Book records that there was grazing for 2,000 pigs within the manor of Stoneleigh, which included Canley and Tile Hill.
Pig Wood at 14 acres, is a small, but nonetheless attractive mixed deciduous and coniferous wood with a canopy of Pedunculate Oak, Lime, Beech, Scots Pine, European Larch, Norway Spruce, Silver Birch, Ash, Sweet Chestnut, Rowan, Holly, Whitebeam and Aspen. There is also some evidence of planting ten years ago of Oak, Hornbeam and a few Ash.
The pond to the north of the wood was reinstated in 1996 and a path (430 metres) providing access for people with disabilities was constructed in 1997.
The area adjacent to Tile Hill Lane was planted between 1887 and 1905 and adjoins the old boundary which can be clearly seen, with its deep ditch and high bank. The original gate posts leading into the wood still remain.
This wood stands alongside Tile Hill Lane and slopes greatly from North to South with a steeper incline to the West side and lies 423 ft above sea level. It is a mixed wood of 22 acres containing Pedunculate Oak approximately 160 years of age and a number of Sessile Oak with some 180 year old Beech trees.
Lime, many Scots Pine, European Larch, Norway Spruce and one solitary Crack Willow (a species that favours moist ground) is located in the West corner where a shallow pool forms in very wet weather when water seeps down the steep incline.
In 1851 seven Oaks were sold from Plants Hill Wood (out of a lot of 263) for £1,050. During the war years (1939-45) timber was felled for pit props for mines. A licence was issued by the Ministry of Control for 13,950 cu. ft. of mining timber with Larch, Spruce and Pine being the main species used for mining. The 1945 prices were:- Larch 52/- (£6.24) Spruce 45/- (£5.40) and mixed 48/- (£5.76) per ton.
In the great gale of March 1947 several trees were uprooted, subsequently being sold off to timber merchants.
The wood is approximately 23.24 acres and is located South of the Jardine Crescent Shopping Precinct. It is a mixed wood of broadleaves and conifers and the site is more or less level at 122 ft above sea level.
The mediaeval name for the area was 'Lingbok' and is based on two Celtic words - 'Lynge' meaning liquid or water and 'bok' meaning brook; therefore Limbrick - the brook with clear water. However, this wood was known as the Great North Waste on the 1776 map of Stoneleigh Estates. It then became known as North Waste in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In the past, land which was neither farmed nor managed as woodland was known as 'waste' which may well have applied to this wood. Its present name appears to have come from the long since demolished Limbrick Farm which stood on Job's Lane.
There are many fine specimens of Larch in Tile Hill Wood and this is the only European conifer that is deciduous (shedding its leaves in Autumn). It is a very attractive tree, especially with the soft fresh emerald green foliage of the Spring and the golden orange foliage in Autumn.
In older trees the bark is thick and deeply furrowed. The wood is very durable and is much used in the building of boats, furniture and staircases.
Norway Spruce is traditionally used as a Christmas tree - its evergreen foliage serving as a Christian symbol of everlasting life. The grey/brown bark always has a slight rusty-red tinge: and the brown cylindrical cones that always droop downwards are two features which help to identify it. The wood is used on a large scale for house-building and carpentry; also for telegraph poles, mine props, ladders, ships masts and paper pulp. Its bark can be used for tanning leather; its leaves flavour spruce beer and pitch was once obtained by tapping its trunk. Pitch was used as a traditional water-proofing agent.
Management of this woodland is aimed at creating a woodland consisting of trees of various ages. This is achieved by selective felling and coppicing a small area at periodic intervals. This, in turn, allows more light to the woodland floor and encourages natural regeneration of native tree species, wild flowering plants and insects.
The survival of many wild plants and insects depends on the existence of open areas within the woodland. To achieve this, many of the rides have been widened and bays or glades have been created to enhance wild flowering plants and encourage butterflies to visit.
Fluctuating water levels due to impeded drainage have influenced the overlying vegetation. This has resulted in small acidic pools and mires, which add interest to the wood. The ponds have recently been desilted to remove leaf litter and garden rubbish. Some coppicing has also been carried out to allow more light to improve aquatic life.
All the woodlands in the Tile Hill area have been designated Local Nature Reserves encouraging sympathetic management to enhance conservation of flora and fauna.
Shrub and Field Layer
There is a wide variety of shrub and field layer in each wood, which may include Hazel, Hawthorn, Elder, Holly, Crab Apple, Goat Willow, Whitebeam, Aspen, Blackthorn, Honeysuckle, Ivy, Wood Sorrel, Willowherb, Foxglove and many other plants too numerous to mention.
Also known as the long-tailed field mouse, has a reddish brown coat with white underparts and large dark eyes. It mainly feeds on nuts, acorns, haws, grain and berries which it stores in its underground burrows.
Introduced into Britain in the late 19th century from North America. This attractive grey-speckled creature with its white underside and long curved bushy tail is resident in all the woods. It builds its dray (nest) of leafy twigs high up in the fork of a tree. Nuts, acorns and other foods are stored buried in the ground. During the winter, even when the ground is covered with snow, the buried food is found by the scent.
The native red squirrel is no longer seen in the woodland, presumably driven out by its larger American cousin. The grey squirrel is responsible for damaging many young trees as it strips the bark off selected tree species.
There are many fine examples of Rowan aged between 40-50 years which may have been planted for their berries, and greedily consumed by game birds such as pheasants.
Some of the Oak is of coppice origin averaging 2-3 stems per stool. These were possibly used for bark tannin and charcoal making in the past.
11 or 32 from Pool Meadow to Tile Hill Wood and Limbrick
32 from Pool Meadow to Pig Wood and Plant Hill Wood
Travel West Midlands 024 7652 5689.
Street parking is available adjacent to all of the
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