Parley Wood being improved

12 Jan 2014
Major improvements to Parley Wood are under way in a collaborative project between Parish Volunteers, West Parley Parish Council and East Dorset Countryside Rangers.

For many years the ancient wood has suffered from boggy, indistinct and overgrown pathways. Parish volunteers have started to clear holly and dead trees, widened and defined pathways and removed trip hazards. The pathways are much safer and the holly clearance allows in more light to encourage plant diversity and make the Woods feel safer to users.

parley wood volunteers
Volunteers take a break after putting up signs and installing benches

Diggers will soon be brought in dig out clogged ditches to drain some of the wetter parts and felled wood and cuttings will be chipped to improve pathways where this is needed.

Signage is already in place to explain what there is to see in the Woods and show the route of paths and location of benches for the weary walker. Work on this project will continue until the end of March.

Parley Wood is the last large area of natural woodland in West Parley and is shown on maps hundreds of years old. The wood was used as a managed resource, supplying oak timbers for ships and buildings and hazel coppiced to provide material for buildings and fencing.

The Parish Council is keen to see more people use the Wood. It is well used by dog walkers, is on the route of the new West Parley Heritage Walk and is frequently used by the popular Wednesday weekly walkers group. It is hoped that these improvements will attract a wider group of users, especially as it will be easier to use pushchairs on the pathways when the work is completed.

A number of bird boxes have been put up and more are planned, as are wood sculptures along the pathways.

There is ample car parking off Christchurch Road. New signage close to Parley Country Club, off Christchurch Road, shows the access points to the Woods and details of other amenities in the area. Walkers can drop into Parley Country Club after a good walk.

This project is part of an overall plan to improve the recreational assets of West Parley. Major improvements have already been made to the Recreation Ground over the last few years and the Parley Country Club has had a major makeover of the whole interior of the building.