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Nancy Bowles Wood

History and Formation of the Wood

Thanks to the generosity of one nature loving individual and the enthusiasm of the Parish Council, the village of Souldern was able to respond to the Tree Councils national appeal in 1985 to establish Harmony woods throughout the Country. Harmony woods were to be established in order to celebrate 40 years of peace in Europe following the end of the war in 1945.

Nancy Bowles agreed to sell a parcel of land to the village which was fenced, gated and planted under the diligent leadership of Sandy Gray and Bun Bunbury. The Nancy Bowles wood was formally opened on 7th September 1986, and on this day Nancy planted an Oak tree which remains prominent in the wood. There was a great deal of press coverage for the fledgling plantation as it was one of the first in Oxfordshire to be created in this way.

Following the initial success of the project, additional adjoining land was purchased and the wood was extended to approximately 3 acres in 1987. The wood was planted predominantly with English native trees and English wild flowers, although a few exceptions have been planted more recently.

The wood is sited prominently to the South of the village, occupying an elevated position which enables visitors to experience some spectacular views over the gently sloping vale to the west towards Deddington/Kings Sutton and beyond. The group of volunteers that manage the wood on behalf of the village have installed a map board in the Glade at the bottom of the wood to assist in spotting prominent local landmarks.

Nancy Bowles wood was created to provide the villagers of Souldern with a peaceful, natural amenity, and a shelter for wildlife. It has been a very popular asset for our community, and will continue to be so for many years to come.