About the wood
Combe Hill Wood is made up of 62 acres of beautiful managed woodland, open to the public and with a diverse range of habitats. The wood has been a mixed site of woodland, wood pasture, grazed calcareous grassland and scrub for several hundred years with trees of all ages and very many species. One area of semi-natural oak woodland has been there since 1822 and has developed a rich variety of lichen, ferns and invertebrates in the deadwood.
Planting and Management
Extensive planting of conifers and broadleaves took place in the 1960s with Pine, Spruce, Western Red Cedar and Larch being inter-planted with Elm, Beech and Alder, among which there is much Ash regeneration of all ages. The remaining veteran Oak, Beech, Sycamore and Field Maple are often found with an under-storey of Hazel and Hawthorn. The woodland is silviculturally managed to retain and favour veteran trees, coppicing Hazel in a regular rotation. Remaining areas are thinned to encourage the development of native broadleaves of all ages, and to allow the good quality conifers to mature. The pathways and open spaces are managed to encourage a diversity of flora and fauna: wild flowers and invertebrates in particular have increased in these areas. While the western escarpment is now restored downland thanks to our management system.
There are well maintained stoned paths throughout the wood, some of which are accessible to pushchairs and wheelchairs. The top part of the wood is suitable for all abilities including young children and the elderly, or infirm.
Responsible dog walkers are very welcome, please make sure any mess is cleared from the path and verges so that children can also enjoy walking and playing there.
Combe Hill Wood is good place for school visits (all ages) and for some care home outings.
There are four main viewpoints with stunning scenery below: views over this lovely part of Somerset and the levels or ‘moors’ as they are known locally. These are excellent places for quiet contemplation, picnics, or scanning around with binoculars – maybe watching the wildlife. Many interesting birds may be seen: among them goldcrests, bullfinches, jays, pheasants, woodcock, buzzards, kestrels, and sparrow hawks. Roe deer, foxes, badgers, hares and rabbits may be seen, especially early morning or eveningtime.
The wood also contains a section of the ‘New Ditch’ which is an enigmatic 3000-year-old Iron Age earthwork.
Throughout the wood there are a number of simple map boards and information boards explaining the woodland management techniques and identifying some of the flora and fauna to be found.
There are also small circular way-marker signs with a blue butterfly logo for ‘Polden Way’. This is a seamless, signed, off-the-road footpath of around 6 miles, which runs right through Combe Hill Wood and beyond.