Oakley Woodland Group

Oakley Woodlands Group (OWG) was formed in 1997 with the support of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and the Hampshire Wildlife Trust to manage CowDown Copse and St. Johns Copse, genuine examples of semi-ancient managed English woodlands.  OWG members are all unpaid volunteers from the community who practice and perpetuate a range of woodland skills and practices.

Cowdown Copse and St John’s Copse are small woods on the edge of Oakley village. They have been identified as ancient forest, and were commercially coppiced until the 1960s. Primarily hazel coppice with oak overstory, they also host a variety of native trees including wild cherry, ash, holly and a witch elm. The fauna includes dormice, badgers, deer, bats, butterflies and others. The flora is also abundant, include bluebells, orchids, honeysuckle, and snowdrops amongst others.

The ecology of these woods is a direct result of decades of coppicing. The group’s aim is to maintain a coppice cycle and thus prevent the decline of the environment. As the coppicing inevitably creates a lot of arisings (the cut timber) the groups also makes a number of traditional coppice products for gardeners, hedge laying and local crafts.

The group runs work parties from October to March on Saturdays and Wednesdays every two weeks. Each work party runs from 10:00h to 13:00h. Work parties before Christmas are usually in Cowdown, moving to St John’s after. Cowdown is in Pack Lane and St John’s is in St John’s Rd Oakley.

The group has been running for nearly 30 years with a core of longstanding experienced volunteers who are happy to share their knowledge. The benefits of green spaces and woodland for mental and physical health are now well know, and standing in a wood on a bright winters morning is nothing short of magical.

Contact Us:

Facebook: facebook.com/OakleyWoodlandsGroup

Email: oakleywoodlands@gmail.com