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Explore West Woods
(Average user rating: 5 unrated 4.1/5)

West Woods is a very beautiful plantation of beech trees on a former ancient woodland site. A long and gradual process is under way to increase the biodiversity of the woodland by introducing native species other than just beech, through the promotion of natural regeneration and planting.

The woodland becomes very popular in late spring due to the fantastic displays of bluebells which carpet the forest floor in certain areas. There is a good network of trails including an easy access route.

What do other visitors say?

2 Stars 2 Stars

Really enjoyed the mtb trails in west woods. Most of them have now been destroyed. Are there any reasons why official trails could not be built and enjoyed by the many mountain bikers in the area?

Wes, 7/Dec/2017

Cycling is permitted in the forest, but trail building isn’t. The Forestry Commission does a huge amount to encourage participation in its woodlands – particularly by mountain bikers (official trail centres, community led bike trail schemes). However, we do have a budget to work to and we cannot develop everywhere for recreation. In other woodlands we have successful recognised groups who under their own insurance and following the Forestry Commission bike trail building guidelines, successfully look after trails. This would need a team of dedicated people to get together and form a community group who are keen to police and look after any agreed trails built.

Forestry Commission Response
2 Stars 2 Stars

I know a lot of my friends have been there searching for the mountain bike trails and they couldn't find them because apparently loads of them have over grown. I'd like to get some guidance from local people or anyone where they are if that's possible because there are some really amazing trails there and it's the only good place to go to in Marlborough becaus I've watched lots of videos. It would be very good if someone could tell me where they are.

Finn Mulvey, 29/Oct/2017

We are aware of some wild trails in West woods. These are not official trails and building of any jumps or features on these is not permitted. If Forestry Commission find any trails with features that we deem to be unsafe, these will be removed to ensure safety. Please be sure to abide by any safety signage you come across on site as we harvest timber in these woodlands.

Forestry Commission Response

Very disappointed with the way the woods are being destroyed by the forestry commission. The bluebells have nearly disappeared. Large parts of the forest have disappeared, no replanting has happened at all. You show a complete lack of consideration to locals who use the woods on a daily basis. Bridle paths are not repaired or maintained, it is unsafe for horses as you effectively close paths without warning. Footpaths also are not maintained. If any other landowner treated public paths such disrespect they would be prosecuted.

Sarah Francis, 19/Sep/2017

West Woods has had a lot of thinning work over the past five years and this has opened up the closed canopy of the plantation. The increase in light levels on the forest floor results in understory growth which is extremely beneficial for local wildlife (dormice, birds, pollinators). Over time the canopy will close again and the brambles will diminish, allowing bluebells to grow once more. Where we have clear felled, we are leaving that space open, so replanting will not be happening in those areas, as they will be left for wildlife. By felling and not replanting, we are giving masses of native trees and plants chance to establish in the woods. In regards to the Public Rights of Way, are there any particular tracks you are referring to? Under our agreement, we keep the tracks clear and avoid taking machinery on them; we do not maintain the surfaces. On the bridal ways, this may be down to use by horse riders and walkers. Thank you.

Forestry Commission Response
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Please email us at westengland@forestry.gsi.gov.uk if you have an enquiry, a complaint or would like a personal reply to your comments.

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Last updated: 19th January 2018

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What's Here?

  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Walking
  • Barbeque
  • 10 bbq sites are available on a first come, first served basis.
More about what's here

Location

OS Grid ref: SU163667
Postcode: SN8

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Contact

West England District
-
0300 067 4800
westengland@­forestry.gsi.gov.uk

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England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.