The Woods

There are a range of habitats and a mix of historical silvicultural systems across the woodlands; including areas of scrub, coppice, single-species stands and mixed-broadleaved woodland.

The far east end of the wood contains mixed-broadleaved woodlands, listed as ancient semi-natural woodlands with oak, ash and other canopy species. Within the woods we have planted areas with locally dominant beech, sweet chestnut and Scots pine. At the far west end, following the clear-fell of larch, there is hazel coppice and open areas of scrub where we are now seeing natural regeneration amongst the new planting.

In this area we are witnessing a richness of wildlife including insects, birds and amphibians with the shrub and flora providing vital food and shelter. It is also where you can find our two ponds and an old cistern/well.


400 years of growth

The woodlands have developed in a piecemeal fashion for at least the last 400 years under the ownership of the Mount Edgcumbe Estate (MEE). Originally separate, and named after the fields they covered, Pigshill and Clarrick Woods coalesced and expanded, slowly enveloping additional lands that were unproductive for agriculture, now covering 66 acres.

Fields near the western end of the woods were the last large infill of planting in the early 20th century drawing older copses and wooded field fringes into the whole. The western end of the woods has colloquially become known as the ‘Alpines’ likely for the steepness of the ascent combined with the now lost tall pine-like larch trees that populated that end of the woods.

The woods contain post war plantations from the 1950s and 60s when landowners were heavily incentivized to restock the UK’s wood supplies. The heavy losses inflicted on the woods in the Burns Day Storm of January 1990 seems to have catalyzed both the community and the Estate to look for alternative management options.

Pigshill & Clarrick Woods CIC was originally formed in 2014. The group has progressed substantially over the subsequent years and took on the lease directly from MEE in 2018.