Woodland Survey

This section is about collecting information relating to your woodland and its location, including any statutory constraints: designations, European Protected Species etc. Woodland information for your property can be found on the Magic website or the Forestry Commission Land Information Search.

Location:

Bach Wood (Grid Ref: ST791628) is located just north of Conkwell, 5.9 miles North West from Bradford On Avon and 6.6 miles East from Bath. The local authority is Bath and North East Somerset and it falls within the Bathford Parish. The SSSI of Inwood, Warleigh is located nearby. (see Map 1 below)

Landscape:

The wood is a single 8-acre compartment of woodland within the larger wood known as Warleigh Wood. Warleigh Wood has approximately 12 other compartments having been marketed by Woodlands.co.uk (see Map 2 below).

The total area of the wood is 3.24 Ha comprising of contiguous blocks of broadleaf and conifer. The National Character Area id NCA:107. Cotswolds (AONB). Landscape Character Type is unknown. Forestry Commission Habitat Network 719.

Background:

The current Warleigh Manor house was built in 1815 after the original house fell into poor condition. The Skrine family owned it for seven generations until 1957 when the estate was broken up and the manor began its life as an educational establishment. The remainder of the estate was farmed until 1982. The final school closed in the 1990s and the manor has now been converted into 10 dwellings. Although in the past the population of the valley would have worked almost exclusively for the estate, Warleigh is now almost purely residential and house prices have increased. Taken from Bathford Parish Council Warleigh History PDF

From visits with the local agent we understand that the wood has not been worked in 10 or 20 years although there is evidence in the lower areas of game keeping.

Further Information

  • You can read about the Reform School on Nick Ryan’s website.
  • A nearby section of the A363 that passes through/adjacent to the woods is known by locals as “Sally in the Wood”. You can read all about how it got its name on the The Bathford Society website.

Access:

The wood is on the west side of Warleigh Lane, which can be access via the A363 from either Bath or Bradford On Avon. A locked gate leads onto a gravel track, which is followed for some 300 metres before a left turn. Here the track steepens and after around another 300 metres the entrance, marked with a bump stop, appears.

There are no public rights of way through the wood although a public footpath runs almost adjacent to the southern boundary and heads southwest towards the Dundas Aquaduct. Locals use the main track through the wood although the nature of this permission is unknown.

Within the woodlands there is some evidence of vehicular tracks. The main track from the entrance runs for about 200metres before turning left uphill, fading and heading past the boundary of Bach Wood.   A turning point has been developed at the end of this track.

Just inside the wood there is a track heading down right. This is heavily rutted and overgrown. As it heads towards the boggiest area of the wood it is probably not advisable to re-establish this track and rather pick another dryer route down into the lower sections from the end of the main track

Geology and Soils:

The geology of the woodland is most likely to be the Low Fullers Earth Member also known as Muddy Limestone. This would be consistent with what we see in the wood. There is a number of small Limestone outcrops and visible locations for limestone under the surface.

Bedrock Lithology: Fullers Earth Formation (FE) – Mudstone, Calcareous. Sedimentary Bedrock formed approximately 165 to 168 million years ago in the Jurassic Period. Geological Environment – These rocks were formed in shallow seas with mainly siliciclastic sediments (comprising of fragments of clasts of silicate minerals) deposited as mud, silt, sand and gravel.

The soil is a slightly acidic clayey or silty loam of shallow or intermediate depth. The parent material is Limestone and dominant habitat being Broadleaved Woodland. The organic matter rating is medium. The average annual soil temp is 11.3C. The soilscape reports that the soil is lime-rich loamy and clayey spoil with impeded drainage. It suggests that the natural fertility of the soil is high. It describes classic ‘Chalky Boulder Clay’ Ancient woodlands. Generally the soil seems to drain well and there are only small areas of boggier ground.

All information taken from the BGS iGeology / mySoil apps and Magic Soil Scape report.

Altitude and Topography:

The woodland is on a SWW facing slope. The lower boundary is at 60m rising to 85m at the upper limits.

Climate:

Based on the nearest climate station at Bath and for the period 1981 to 2010.

The average annual rainfall is approximately 814mm. (357mm in the summer half year and 457mm in the winter), which is well below all averages for the UK.

The annual accumulated temperature (day-degrees above 5 degrees Celsius) is unknown although accumulated sunshine hours are 1493. The average annual maximum temperature 14.3 degrees Celsius and minimum temperature is 6.6 degrees Celsius.

There are approximately 40 days of air frost and unknown number of days of ground frost on average per year, although the actual durations experienced within the woodlands is less due to the microclimate.

Windiness (calculated using Research Information Note 230):

  • Wind zone Score: 3
  • Elevation Score: 1
  • Aspect (West): SAMS = +1.0; DAMS = -59
  • Topex: 30 (from Example 1) TF 3.8
  • Soil: 5 (From Appendix FC Leaflet 85 Table 5)
  • Total Hazard Score = 13.8
  • Wind throw Hazard Class = 3.

Therefore as measured by SAMS (simple aspect method of scoring) falls within the category of unknown.

Ecological Features:

The wood is categorised as an Ancient Replanted Woodland. It falls into a number of FC categories including: Ancient Woodland Challenges Grove (PAWS); and priority habitats broadleaved and mixed mainly broadleaved. It can be roughly divided into three areas although for a more detailed analysis of the zones highlighted in the felling application see the woodland map:

A: The upper slopes:

 

As you enter the wood on the upper left hand side (eastern edge) is an area of larger Ash and Beech. There is some smaller growth in the mid canopy. It is possible that some thinning could take place in this area to allow the better specimens more space to reach full maturity although care would need to be taken to ensure succession.

B: The middle slopes:

 

Starting on the right side of the track as you enter the wood is a central band of Hazel coppice with some larger Ash. This band runs the full north to south length of the woodland and as you head further south and there is evidence of reseeding with some trees now overgrowing their protective sleeves. This area has the potential to be an excellent coppice although it is currently shaded by the higher canopy and/or too dense.

C: The lower slopes:

 

Along the western boundary is a significant area of predominantly Conifer (identified as Lawson’s Cyprus also known as Port Orford Cedar) intermixed with a few Ash, Hazel and some spectacularly larger Hawthorn. Responding to PAWS and in order to increase the natural biodiversity of the woodland this area should be progressively clear felled to create an Open Habitat space and allow reseeding/replanting with native broadleaf. This will need to be a progressive process, as the existing trees will want protection from wind and as funding allows. Initial thinning of this area would allow more light to penetrate and thus encourage growth in the lower canopies such that the replacement broadleaves and other flora could have established itself before the clearance of the conifer.

Land Use:

Previously managed for timber and game the woodlands have most recently been marketed by woodlands.co.uk as amenity land for small private owners. The land around the wood is generally of similar Ancient & Semi-Natural Woodland. To the southwest is the small hamlet of Conkwell with its farms and residential dwellings. To the west is predominantly pasture and arable fields. Local landmarks would include the River Avon and Kennett and Avon Canal located at the valley floor in the West and Browns Folly located at the top of the valley above Sally in The Woods to the East.

Land Information Search:

A Forestry Commission (FC) ‘Land Information Search’ viewed on the internet on 28/01/15 lists the following land designations located fully or partially on the property:

  • Nitrate Vulnerable Zone
  • Woods Close to People (Homes of 100,000 people)
  • Felling License Application (Clear Fell (Conditional); 018/79/15-16; Sel Fell/Thin (Conditional); 018/79/15-16;
  • CS Biodiversity – Priority Habitat Network: H8 & L4
  • CS Water – Water Quality: 4
  • CS Water – Flood Risk: 2
  • CS Cross Cutting – Keeping Rivers Cool: 3
  • CS Biodiversity – Woodland Improvement: 0
  • Woods for People – 29 recorded locations nearby.

Magic Database Findings:

  • Climate Change Vulnerability Buffers (England)
  • Lowland Calcareous Grassland within 1km / 2km
  • Traditional Orchards within 1km / 2km

Last Updated: