Thursday, 6 November 2014

Withan Woods - well worth a visit

The woods at Frenchman's creek on the Helford estuary are famous for their unique beauty, tranquillity and their abundance of wildlife. The eastern side of Frenchman's Creek is already in the care of the National Trust. Erlier in the year some woodland on the other side of the creek was put up for sale. We put in our bid and are now the proud new owners of Withan Woods. 

Withan Woods – Outlined in red

Withan is a tranquil little wood, its fringe of 'Western oak woodland' overhanging the creek and large open grown trees give it a special character. It also has a real feeling of history. Buried deep in the woods is an old quay, first recorded in the 1880’s, which is a beautiful quiet place to sit and enjoy the wildlife and views up the creek towards the main Helford River.

      Withan Quay

Kathy working hard
There is an existing right of way through the top end of the woods to the farmland above. Historically access to the quay and woodland beyond was limited, but as part of our commitment to enhancing public access, we decided that we should put in a new path down to the quay and clear an existing track to create a circular walking route, giving access to the whole wood.

Finally on warm day in October eight of us, staff and volunteers, headed off to create the new route along the creek side to the quay and beyond. When we arrived we split in to two groups, some heading off to clear windblown trees from the existing track, and the others working on the new footpath along the creek side to the quay. After a day of hard, but rewarding work we had finished the new route.

Our plans for Withan are for sensitive low key management, so the new path has been cut by hand. This ensures there as little disturbance to the existing woods as possible to preserve their unspoilt nature. We still need to return to put a few steps on the steeper sections of path and to install subtle way markers to guide visitors round the wood.

If you’re ever visiting the Helford and fancy exploring then Withan is an fantastically peaceful place to soak up the real character of the area.

Withan Woods

- Martin

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