18th and 19th century maps show that Winchfield Wood is likely to be ancient woodland. (1766 map and O.S. map 1873).
The Woodland Trust – Ancient Woodland Facts
Ancient woodland is defined as land that has been continually wooded since at least 1600AD. From 1600AD, planting of woodland became more common, so woodland that pre-dates this is more likely to have grown up naturally. Some ancient woods may even link back to the original wildwood that covered the U.K. around 10,000 years ago, after the last Ice age. Ancient woods are the jewel in our woodland crown. They are our richest sites for wildlife and are full of cultural heritage. Ancient woods area also some of our prettiest woodland – some have carpets of bluebells, wood anemones and celandines in Spring.
Ancient woods vary from native pinewoods in the Cairngorms to the lichen-rich oak woods of the Atlantic seaboard and the flower rich coppice woodland in south-east England.
At the entrance to Winchfield Wood stood ‘Jim’s Farm’ and there are many memories of Pet’s Corner with Jim Thurley and his rabbits, budgies and chickens at the ‘farm’ and of a cat called Tabby and her kittens. This was abandoned in 1965.
“Down here in my time there was a client called Jimmy = ‘Jimmy’s Farm’. He was allowed to build huts with car windows etc. – very independent minded. He had room in there but not where he slept. We had to fumigate and burn the bed later when he died. He was quite cantankerous; no one could tell him what to do. He had breakfast then went to his farm. It was right at back of wood on boundary – there are no buildings there now.” (CB Nurse)
“Cell Barnes Social Club – the football team played Beard Brothers of Sutton Road. Some Cell Barnes residents came across to the field (where Highfield Park Drive has now been cut through), and picked up the ball while the match was in progress.” (M Collins)