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Hopwas Wood, Tamworth

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
Published January 16th 2016
Lose Yourself In The Majesty Of Ancient Woodland
If you go down to the woods today!

You may not get to see a teddy bear's picnic, as the popular children's song suggests, but visitors to Hopwas Wood in Staffordshire may still encounter something unusual, if the stories are to be believed.

Hopwas Wood
One of the main footpaths through Hopwas Wood

The woods, which lie just a couple of miles from Tamworth, officially date back to the 11th century and the Domesday Book.

And that long history may have something to do with the tales of ghosts, witchcraft and occult activities that have persisted within the ancient woodland, which covers almost nearly 400 acres, over the years.

Hopwas Wood
The beautiful autumn colours still evident in January

Hopwas Wood, which is also known as Hopwas Hayes Wood, is currently owned by Tarmac, the giant building materials group, as much of the site is said to lie on sand and gravel deposits.

However, Tarmac recently publicly stated that it had no plans to extract raw materials from the ground, thereby preserving the woodland for the time being at least.

Hopwas Wood
The public footpath can be found off the main A51

Public access to Hopwas Wood, which is also partly owned by the Ministry of Defence due to the close proximity of Whittington Barracks, is via bridle-paths leading off from the main A51.

This was the route I took on the crisp, sunny January day that I visited the wood, after parking in the convenient layby on the opposite side of the road.

Hopwas Wood
The sun filters through the woods

The woodland is kept under close scrutiny by the Friends of Hopwas Wood, which formed in 2004 to provide a watching brief in conjunction with Natural England.

One of its aims was to re-establish the whole of Hopwas Wood as ancient woodland, and it certainly seems to be doing its job well.

Hopwas Wood
A copse of silver birch trees

Trees of all varieties, from silver birch to pines, abound as you follow the footpath deep into the woodland.

And an added treat for visitors is a sight of the 'porkers' that are kept on the vast pig farm which lies alongside Hopwas Wood, just off one of the paths.

Hopwas Wood
The footpath takes you alongside a pig farm

The only thing to beware while visiting in the winter, as I discovered, is the large amount of mud - particularly at the entrance to the woods off the main A51. Wellies may well be a good idea!
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Why? Explore beautiful woods dating back to the Domesday Book
When: All year
Where: Hopwas Wood, A51 Hopwas Hill, Hopwas, Staffordshire B78
Cost: Free
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