Hodgemoor Wood is a 250-acre woodland in South Bucks. Located between the historic town and villages of Amersham, Chalfont St. Giles and Seer Green, Hodgemoor is a natural heritage area, designated by Natural England as a “Site of Special Scientific Interest” (SSSI). It is owned by Bucks County Council but administered for them by The Forestry Commission. The wood is only 40 minutes from Central London, making it a popular destination for walkers, cyclists and horseriders who can appreciate a wide variety of trees (oaks, birches, beeches, hornbeam), its outstanding bluebells, foxgloves and other flora and fauna.
Hodgemoor has a large network of footpaths and riding trails maintained by the Hodgemoor Riding Association, i.e. by the horse-riders themselves, on behalf of and in coordination with, The Forestry Commission.
The contract between the two organisations gives riding members of the Association the right to use the trails but gives them also the obligation to maintain the trails; this arrangement has been held up elsewhere in the UK by authorities, the Forestry Commission, the British Horse Society and other riding groups as a model of useful private-public cooperation.
Since 1999, the Hodgemoor Riding Association has raised over £100,000 to renovate the riding trails, improving access for all users. These works realized the installation of a new bridleway and four new permissive trails, generating 3,000 metres of new track.
The two pictures here to the right show the same place, the Spring Link, before and after our work. The main objective of all renovation has been to keep horses on their allocated paths and to free the wood from extensive areas of mud in winter.
Membership is compulsory for horseriders (minimum £20 per annum). Walkers and cyclists are encouraged to join too for as little as £5 per year. Every penny goes to creating and renovating the trails, and conserving the wood. Besides subscriptions, funds are raised through events such as the popular TREC (involving obstacles and orienteering), cross country jumping, and Dog Agility competitions.
The Brett Environmental Trust 2002 Award for Improving Public Access to Hodgemoor Woods
The British Horse Society Access Award 2004 for the BHS member who has done most for equestrian access
The Forestry Commission’s East England Forest District Group Volunteer Award 2016.
Here are a dozen of us in late November 2014, digging out mud from two sections of Susie’s Loop to create drainage channels. We hope you’ll decide to join us and become one of Hodgemoor Woods’ growing membership and conservation champions.
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Susie Bicknell, Secretary, Hodgemoor Riding Association
Homefarm Orchard, Kirby Close, Threehouseholds, Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP8 4F
You can also contact The Forestry Commission at their Aston Clinton office under Wendover Woods on 01296 625825
Web authoring by Garreth Mills