Old maps confirm that there were a large number of small mixed woods, coppices or copses, within the parish boundary. These, with the high numbers of hedgerow and odd corner trees meant that Winsham could boast a rich and varied woodland ecology. Very many of the farmland trees have now gone but from viewpoints over the parish (along the A30 road, from Maudlin Cross and from the west end of Dormer Lane) it is evident that much is left.

Although the quality of the trees, like the very old ashes, oaks, poplars and cider apple trees have perished, many of the woodland habitats still remain due to their sporting value to the gun or foxhound.

From the top of the parish (near the A30) we have Eighteen Acre Copse - a bit of ancient woodland on chalk. Raided in both World Wars for timber, it contains such treasures as twayblade, herb Paris, fly and butterfly orchids, massed bluebells and ransoms. Also badgers and deer. The large rookery went around 1942 and a section was grubbed out forty years ago. There are many hornbeam trees.

Leading down the valley we have almost continuous mixed woodland (softwood and hardwood). These include the long strip of mixed trees planted in 1974. These run beside Pool Copse and pond, an ancient mixed wood now replanted with mostly larch. This area marks the top of the greensand and is noted for its badgers and fossils.

The other wood to the north of the parish is Lodge Copse, with the high radio masts. This was once a regular site to hear the song of the wood warbler.

Down in the valley, woodland is continuous to Cricket's Purtington Copse and up to Weston Ground Plantation, beside Dormer Lane and locally known as Badger's Glory. There is a continuous woodland and water corridor down past Chalkway to Hollowells where hedges lead down to the Axe. Thus a cormorant was seen fishing on a Winsham lake a few years ago.

Other wooded land is on the steep bank overlooking Lue Farm right along to Limekiln Lane. This leads on down below High Street with fine oaks and hedges down to the Axe near Winsham Bridge. This area was said to be once a regular spot to hear nightingales but is now known for its green and greater spotted woodpeckers, nuthatches and the occasional tree creeper.

Other parish woodland is the Queen Hill Wood above Leigh House and High Wood adjoining the Fosse way - known for its buzzards, roe deer and bluebells.

There are very few points in the parish that are not near trees or bushes or, indeed, water. This leads to a great variety of wildlife of all sorts. Nature is always evolving. With the roads, lanes and 25 labelled footpaths there need be never a dull moment for the nature lover.

So here is a list of a few special things to look out for in Winsham's woodlands - woodcock, wood warbler, grasshopper warbler, nightingales (several records), noctule and lesser horseshoe bats, purple hairstreak and pearl bordered fritillary butterflies; flowers include bee orchids, enchanter's nightshade, herb paris, wood sorrel and wood sanicle. Fungi include shaggy ink cap and boletus. All are on record as being seen in the parish.

KEY & Explanation
   Black Arrows indicate direction of fall of land-Numbers (e.g.250)-Height above sea level

Green Areas indicate Woodland; blue lines indicate approx. position of Rivers and Waterways.

Areas of Interest:

  1. Pool Copse. Badgers, Mallard, Eels, Golden Saxifrage, Hemlock, Deepwort, Figwort, Marsh Marigold, Bull Rush, Watercress, Mares Tales, Wild Thyme
  2. Water Mead. Marsh Orchid, Green Willow Herb, Mares Tails, Great Tussock, Yellow Flag, Dragon Flys, Frogs
  3. Chalkway. Stream flows in deep woodland over stony bottom. Jays frequently heard.
  4. Hollowells. Many Wood Anemones.
  5. Leigh Lane. Butterbur, Marsh Thistle, Marigold
  6. Forde Bridge. Hemlock
  7. River Axe. Alder Trees, Willow, Trout, Lamprey, Kingfishers
  8. Cricket St.Thomas Estate. Wide range of mammals, wild fowl and plants. Large Trout.

May blossom

Pearl Bordered Fritillary

Bee Orchids

Bee Orchids

Wood Warbler

Roe deer
Oak tree


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This page revised 03 October 2019