WALK | A Walk in the Woods at Tiddesley Wood | Worcestershire
A Wood From the Early Age
A wood on the edge of Pershore in Worcestershire surrounded by orchards and fields with plenty of trails to wander amongst the trees
A range of broad-leaved large specimen trees, plenty of birds and bluebells in Spring
Explore the woodland with its links to the River Avon and the town of Pershore adjacent - available as part of a walk out of the town, river and back around again
"...The quiet timeout that this woodland provides amongst ancient and earlier landscapes..."
Tiddesley Wood is a rather curious but pleasant large woodland. Now in the care of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, it offers the locals of Pershore and the surrounding Worcestershire area some respite from the day to day, a chance to stretch ones legs and meander for a moment or two in the environs of a wooded area. Woodland not being of great propensity in this part of the Vale of Evesham.
Surrounded on part of its border by ancient fruit trees that date back to the time of Pershore and Worcestershire being the market garden of Britain. Now the heritage yellow plum graces the fruits trees. And adjacent to them the ripening and fabulous smell of cider apples ready for the press. These are all fine things.
But when I said this is a curious wood, I mean it. On one edge sits a rifle range which seems at best intriguing. And its historic roots also beg further questions. For the land that Tiddesley Wood sits upon was once the ownership of the Chapter and Dean of Westminster Abbey. Yep – that Westminster Abbey. And actually, until relatively recently in 1952.
So whilst the woodland being managed and marshalled by the local wildlife trust is a marvellous example of land management in action, where birds sing and trees sing, where bugs and beetles, and crickets do their thing. It is worth taking a moment to consider the roots of this place. Not just a woodland. Once a place of power, of money, of control and of military might.
Let’s take this one step at a time. And indeed, back in time. Tiddesley Wood and its adjacent deer parkland fell into the hands of the Abbot of Westminster back in the 13th century. 1223 to be exact. After a public falling out between the Abbot of Pershore Abbey and the Abbot of Westminster. No surprise that Westminster won and the whole ownership thing was sealed when a deal with done with the lords of the adjoining lands. Tiddesley Wood from then on became the control of Westminster Abbey.
So Tiddesley Wood and the parklands around it became under ecclesiastical power and influence. But it also included a large manorial ground around Pershore including Defford, Bricklehampton, Binholme Manor and many other places. Westminster took on a hands-off approach, choosing to leasehold much of the land to nobles for many, many years. Multi-year leases were signed with rents coming to the church.
It meant that for Tiddesley Wood – life became a paradigm of the haves and the have nots. Those who could – the elite, wealthy, land-owning gentry who went hunting, point-to-point, leisure rides including deer hunting and fox hunting – and the peasant class, workers and agrarian life-givers who were prevented, arrested, prosecuted and punished for trespass, collecting fire wood, poaching of rabbits and ferrets or any number of related ‘illegal’ actions including squatting. Tiddesley Wood must have been quite the hotbed of criminality. But in many ways, this wood was a close-up view of what life was like in Britain particularly rural Britain as in here in Worcestershire.
Now whilst the wealthy landowners chased foxes on horses in the 19th century, towards the very end of that century a firing range was built in the corner of the woodland. Known as the Tiddesley Wood Rifle Range, the Volunteer Rifles Battalion carried out target practise and engaged in competitions with other local volunteer militias and thence on the Territorial Army of the 20th century. Dad’s Army or as should call them the Home Guard even took part in training when a mock enemy landing took place with local Home Guards units all playing their part around the woodlands towards Defford.
People say that with woodlands – it is all about life. And there is life here at Tiddesley including the particularly important and rare noble chafer beetle found in just three places in the entire UK. But this woodland, this estate has been the centre of life and a battleground of access to its life for centuries. The wildlife trust has enabled life to return to the woods, enabled previous heritage to be enlivened and enabled any individual to enter and trundle these woodlands. If woodlands inspired freedom perhaps this one is the best example…
Directions and Map |
Find Tiddesley Wood on the edge of the Worcestershire market town of Pershore - take a walk past the abbey, along the river and head across the road towards the woodland for an extended Pershore adventure