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A fine mature Beech wood measuring about 185 acres, set in a sheltered valley with dramatic views of Melbury Down on the edge of the Cranborne Chase, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Acquired by the Forestry Commission in 1945 and planted between 1947 and 1949 with mostly Beech, Ash, Corsican and Scots Pine. About 60% was planted as a 1:1 line mixture of beech and pine (Scots and Corsican) at close spacing of about 4 ft. The remainder was established as Beech. Ash of natural origin is in evidence in limited numbers mainly in the southern area of the wood in amongst the Beech. The Pine nurses were removed by the late 1980s. Felling has been carried out in the last two years to preserve and extend chalk grassland within the woodland. This has involved widening rides to create views of the adjoining downland, enlarging glades and some thinning.
Melbury Wood is located about 4 miles south east of the Saxon hilltop town of Shaftesbury lying on a south facing chalk downland below Breeze Hill and Melbury Down. The adjacent land is National Trust owned and managed chalk downland, designated as part of Fontmell & Melbury Downs Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The woodland has been managed for wildlife, since the 1990s, by creating glades of semi-natural grassland, widening rides and encouraging regeneration of chalk downland for wildflowers. Hundreds of artificial bat roosts and bird boxes are located within the woodland and many rare and popular species of bird, butterfly and bat have been recorded successfully breeding. The wood supports, what is thought to be the largest population in Dorset, of the rare plant, Yellow Birds-nest (Monotropa Hypopitys). Unlike most plants, it does not contain chlorophyll. There is a comprehensive management plan that can be provided by the Agent upon request.
The wood is accessed from the road via a private hardcore track over which the owners have a right of way at all times for all purposes. A metal barrier gives entry to a track leading to the woodland.
From the Royal Chase roundabout in Shaftesbury take the A30 towards Salisbury and then immediately turn right onto the B3081, Blandford road. After Melbury Motors continue on the B3081 by turning left and up to the top of Zig Zag Hill. After approximately 1.5 miles, at the staggered crossroad, turn right towards Compton Abbas Airfield. The entrance to the Wood is located about 100m on the right over the gravel lay by that leads to the track.
Viewings on foot at your convenience. Access to view by vehicle please is strictly by appointment through the Agent.
RIGHTS OF WAY
The woodland is open to the public under the CRoW Act 2000.
Inclusion by negotiation.