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Leaflet Cover

Willenhall Wood

Local Nature Reserve

The ancient Woodlands of Coventry
are one of our major assets offering
peace and tranquillity within a busy city.
Please visit and enjoy them.

Transcript from leaflet published by Coventry City Council published July 2003

Willenhall Wood is situated in the South East corner of Coventry, south of St James' Lane between Middle Ride, Yarningdale Road and the city boundary at Willenhall.

Description

A mixed, deciduous, Ancient and Semi-natural woodland covering 9 hectares containing a diverse canopy of Oak, Ash, Wild Cherry, Silver Birch and Rowan.  The Shrub Layer contains Hazel, Elder, Hawthorn and natural regeneration of Oak, Aspen, Birch and Ash.

The Wood has a diverse ground flora during Spring and Summer containing Bracken, Bramble, Willow Herb, Nettle, Nipplewort, Herb Robert, Wood Avens, Dog-rose, Speedwell, Cow Parsley, Common Sorrel and Stitchwort to name but a few.  The most outstanding feature is the display of Bluebells during May and June concentrated in the eastern end of the Wood.

Geology and Soil

The Wood is on a level site 84m above sea level lying over boulder clay and sandstone of glacial origin.

Woodland Management

See Map 43
grid squares
V20-V21 for details of
paths and surrounding area
 
Recent projects have included providing a suitable path to enable people with disabilities to visit the wood and this was completed for the millennium.  It is currently managed as Hazel coppice with Oak Standards with a section of woodland being cut every second or third year and worked on a rotational basis.

It is intended to re-introduce coppicing to the Wood and improve the existing system to encourage flora and fauna.  Some selective felling and replanting has taken place on the western side of the Wood with planting of Wild Cherry, Ash and Oak.

The coppice, was grown on a 10-15 year rotation and cut on alternate years producing:

The Oak Standards were managed on a rotation, thus:

Hazel coppice on a 12 year rotation and Oak Standards on 120 year rotation i.e. the standard rotation is ten times that of the coppice.  At the end of each coppice rotation mature Standards are felled, intermediate aged ones thinned, and new ones planted or recruited from natural regeneration.  Timber from Standards was utilised for furniture, building, fencing, gate making, firewood and barrel making.  Coppice with Standards dates from mediaeval times, and retention of Standards for timber was required by law in the 16th Century.

History

Coventry City Council purchased the woodland with other land in 1952.

Willenhall derives from the original name 'Wylenhal' and refers to wells and springs which appear in the locality.

The wood was formerly in the parish of Holy Trinity and formed part of a donation from Earl Leofric to the Priory of Coventry on foundation of the Benedictine Monastery in 1034.

During the 13th Century Willenhall Wood and the nearby Little Wood formed part of a district common given to local inhabitants and land-owners via an agreement between the Abbot of Coombe and Robert Joilin of Binley.  At that time boundaries and common rights were defined.

In 1410 the woods were enclosed and the Willenhall family, who were granted a section of the woodland in 1342 by the Priory, retained certain rights under specific leases to graze and work the woodland.

Following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, the wood was granted by the Crown to Sir Richard Lee but almost immediately transferred to a John Hales.  Various changes of title followed until the Earl of Craven took ownership in the mid- 19th Century.

Walking

The Wood contains a network of footpaths providing interesting informal walks taking you past panoramic views across farmland to the South and open countryside from the Eastern end.

A 600 metre all-weather path has been installed on the East side to enable both local people and people with disabilities to gain greater access to the wood (see plan).

During the summer months many wild flowers bound the footpaths including Greater Stitchwort, Common Speedwell, Nipplewort, Hawkweed and Bluebell.

The walk can be extended from the eastern end of the Wood across open countryside to the Bogs and Piles Coppice.

As the woodland is situated on the edge of the city, it contains good wildlife such as Moles, Foxes, Rabbits, Beetles, Muntjac Deer, Hedgehogs and many birds.

Around the walk a variety of birds can be observed, including Chaffinches, Robins and several species of tits.  Woodpeckers are more often heard than seen.

Dead trees are left where possible by the Council to provide nest sites for Woodpeckers.  They also contain many insects which birds feed on.

Main bus routes

21 from City Centre to St. James Lane, followed by a short walk down Middle Ride.
Travel West Midlands 024 7652 5689.

Car-parking facilities are also available.

Don't forget the Country Code

See Information common to all Woodland leaflets

See also:-

Willenhall Wood description and photos  Map 43  Woodlands Index and Information common to all Woodland leaflets

 


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