Trees and Hedges
An important aspect of the rural landscape, particularly for those who live, work and play in it, are trees and hedges. In Memory hold the Door John Buchan writes “Our ridge was old forest land and it provided one of the two types of landscape which have always had a special charm for me. These types are the mountain meadow and the woodland clearing. “He says, “Elsfield was rich in those secret glades, sometimes only an acre wide, but all ancient clearings whose turf had been cropped for centuries.”
This is no longer the case, of course, since the turf which had been cropped for centuries was dug up during the Second World War to grow potatoes, restored to pasture only to be given over to arable crops in the 21st century. The many hedges which parcelled out the land in Buchan’s time had to be dug up in the second half of the 20th century to accommodate the giant combine harvesters, grain trucks, sprayers and tractors which are now used in farming.
At the present time, spurred on by European Union initiatives and private anxieties about global warming, an increase in awareness of the importance of trees and hedges in the environment has led to much replanting.
There are three main pieces of woodland in Elsfield: Long Wood, Pennywell Wood and Woodeaton Wood. There are also much smaller narrow strips of woodland: The Ridings and Jubilee Wood. They are managed by the Brown family on behalf of Christchurch.