This 1.21 hectare Woods on your Doorstep site was planted up as a native broadleaved woodland in December 1999 by local villagers and schoolchildren, with the support of The Greenlight Trust. From the outset the project has largely been community-led with locals finding the site, fundraising, designing, planting and taking on the ongoing maintenance of the wood. Prior to Trust ownership, the field which slopes gently towards the east, affording good views over the village and surrounding countryside, was a meadow used for horse grazing.
To the west, south and east the land is surrounded by arable fields. To the north there are the farm buildings of Cook's Farm and a small grazing pasture. Management and pedestrian access are directly off the public highway (Lawshall Road) to the north of the site. This entrance has been left open to allow at least 4 cars to pull off the road and park on the wide verge. There is a second pedestrian access point in the south-east corner of the wood where a sleeper bridge crosses the ditch. A permissive path, known as Pask's Path, runs to this entrance from the village, on the field edge, at the top of the Lawshall Road embankment. An old fence marks the western boundary, which the neighbouring farmer tends to plough very close to - boundary shrubs should be monitored. The southern boundary has a ditch with mature hedges on both sides and the eastern edge is defined by the steep road embankment.
An information board has been erected at the main entrance explaining the layout of the site which has a sculpture in the middle of it. ‘The Gift' was designed by Hartest resident, Geoffrey Clarke R.A. and was donated to form the centrepiece of the wood. It is cast in bronze and stands on a granite plinth.
Hartest Wood has been planted up as native broadleaved, woodland with the layout of the wood representing a map of the village with wide rides representing the roads. 187 oak trees were planted for each dwelling and a thicket of yew and holly mark the site of the church. Bell Stay Bottom is an ash coppice planted to provide stays for the church bells in the future.
`Text courtesy of Woodland Trust`