Common Wood

Management

An on-going programme of works

The current woodland management plan was produced with help from the Chiltern Woodlands Project. It was approved by the Forestry Commission in 2012 and runs to April 2022. This plan and woodland grant contract has given felling approval to thin out young plantations and poorer trees. The wood is a varied mosaic of tree ages and structure and has some of the best young regeneration of beech in the Chilterns.
The Residents Society has invested a significant amount since purchasing the wood to provide a network of all weather paths so that it can be enjoyed in all weathers and by those with limited mobility. A permit scheme exists for horse rides and the wood is popular with dog walkers, joggers etc.

Common Wood

Position

Common Wood survives as a large fragment of ancient and semi-natural woodland

Common Wood forms part of a chain of woods lying to the north east of High Wycombe, including Penn Wood and Kings Wood. Covering over 250 acres it contains a range of special habitats and many of the uncommon species found in ancient woods. Common Wood, together with its neighbour Penn Wood, represents one of the largest areas of Ancient Woodland remaining in the Chilterns.

As such it is to be valued as a rare and valuable habitat. A large part of the woodland is on the plateau while the area to the north east of the main chalk track drops down into the valley. The wood also slopes down to the Penn Bottom road on its southern boundary The lowest point is about 125 metres above sea level and the highest areas are around 170 metres.

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Volunteering

The current woodland management plan was produced with help from the Chiltern Woodlands Project. It was approved by the Forestry Commission in 2012 and runs to April 2022. This plan and woodland grant contract has given felling approval to thin out young plantations and poorer trees. The wood is a varied mosaic of tree ages and structure and has some of the best young regeneration of beech in the Chilterns. A felling licence to thin out the marked larch Gravelly Way plantation aims to leave rows of beech and other broadleaved trees, whilst harvesting the timber of the mature larch. A future threat to ash trees, mainly found on the chalk hillside, is Ash Dieback a fungal disease also known as Chalara. It kills the leaves of the ash in late summer and then spreads into the rest of the tree. Rhododendron clearance is also to reduce the risk of Phytophthora ramorum spreading from the Rhododendron host to kill other trees. Another threat to young broadleaved trees is bark damage by grey squirrels in summer. .

The wood should provide safe amenity and interest for local people by allowing quiet, informal public access to the extent consistent with that overriding conservation purpose. This conforms to the charitable aims of PTGRS. It also observes the terms we have agreed with the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Woodland Trus – and it fulfils the promises made to all those residents and others who donated to the Save Common Wood campaign.