Ancient Woodland

The Cattle Park as we see it today, was laid out by John Bailey, Steward at Chillingham, in 1790. Many of the woodlands you see were planted at this time and further planting was done in the late 19th century. Since then, some woods have been replanted. Most recently, the central area of Harpsicord wood was replanted in 2023, having been blown down by Storm Arwen.

The Great Wood of Chillingham occupied much of the north eastern section of the Park but was largely removed by John Bailey. This included removing the stumps, which must have been quite some undertaking. However, part of the woodland remains and is known today as Robin Hood’s Bog, although nobody seems to know why. This area is designated as Ancient Semi Natural Woodland, which means it was wooded when the very early maps were produced in the 17th century.

Alders are the dominant species in the boggy areas of the woodland, as they are along the streams throughout the Park. It is thought that the alder stumps are 100s of years old. They would have been coppiced to provide firewood or probably charcoal. Alder wood is soft and of little use in construction, but was well suited for making clogs and brake pads for carts. It is not in big demand these days!

Harpsicord Wood after Storm Arwen