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Chippenham SN14 0QT
OS map 156 Grid ref: ST898734

  • Not suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs
  • Dogs on leads are welcome
  • 5.81 hectares


Vincients Wood reserve map © WWT

Vincients Wood is a semi-natural broadleaved woodland on the western edge of Chippenham. A circular route around the wood crosses a medieval woodbank that divides the wood in two; it would have been placed there as a boundary and to keep livestock out.

Parts of the reserve are ancient woodland, which means they have been continuously wooded since at least 1600AD. The northern section is more recent and until the Second World War its trees were felled for timber. Most of the trees - ash, maple and oak - are aged between 30-50 years but because of its continuous history as a wood, 17 ancient woodland indicator species can be found. One, the tiny tree-climbing door snail, is an indicator of a wood’s great age because it takes such a long time to colonise a place.

The wood was given to us in 1990 and volunteers run a coppicing programme between October and March to create small sunny glades on a seven year cycle, providing perfect conditions for wildflowers. In spring wood anemones, bluebells and early purple orchids blossom. Comma, holly blue, ringlet and speckled wood butterflies live here. Listen for the great spotted woodpecker drumming on tree trunks; other birds such as the blackcap, nuthatch, goldcrest and tits prefer the sunny south edges of the wood.

Vincients Wood has a damp dark interior, deliberately left untouched. Here you will find fungi – lilac-coloured blewits, great bunches of trooping crumble cap that suddenly appear overnight, candle snuff and the miller. To provide good habitat for invertebrates and fungi we have created a long, ‘dead hedge’ of timber, which is being left to slowly rot.

Comma butterfly © Amy Lewis Candle snuff fungus © Les Binns Nuthatch © Neil Aldridge Blackcap © Amy Lewis

Directions

If driving - From Chippenham town centre head out on A420 Bristol Road. Turn left at roundabout into Hungerdown Lane (signposted Frogwell). At first mini-roundabout just past petrol station turn right into Frogwell. Take third left into Moss Mead, then bear right. Follow winding road through housing estate until dead end. Limited parking on road. Walk between bollards, across stream and grass strip and enter reserve through kissing gate.

If using bus - Vincients Wood is a half-hour walk (1.6 miles) from Chippenham bus station. Services to the station are regular. Routes 231, 635, 234, X34, 35/35A, 75, 36, 95, B44, D44, A44. Visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/parkingtransportandstreets

If cycling - Leave Regional Cycle Route 20 at turning for Moss Mead. Follow Moss Mead to dead end. Reserve entrance is across stream and grass strip. Visit www.sustrans.org.uk

Nearby reserves Morgan’s Hill, Conigre Mead

What to see locally - Malmesbury Abbey (9 miles), Bath Abbey and Roman Baths (10 miles), Westonbirt National Arbortum (11 miles)

Vincients Wood location map © WWT

(Photo: Vincients Wood © Steve Day)