21st Nov 05
Bridging the gap between past and present
Volunteers open the new bridge in the woodThirteen volunteers from Tongham, Surrey gave up their Sunday last week to bridge the gap between the past and present by building a wooden bridge from the ‘Ancient Wood’ to the new woodland to improve access for visitors.

As part of their ongoing management of Tongham Community Wood, the local volunteers from Tongham Wood Improvement Group (TWIG) drew up plans for the bridge and built it on site to their own specifications with materials supplied by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership. This completed the new desire path that had been created in September through what is called the ‘Ancient Wood’. The path and bridge have opened up the wood further and improved access for wheelchairs, prams, pushchairs and bicycles.

The ‘Ancient Wood’ is the oldest part of Tongham Community Wood and is referenced on old tithe maps. It was once used for hazel coppicing and the old ditch and deep bank used as the boundary to keep out grazing animals is still present and is where the bridge now crosses.

There are a number of routes through the wood and another piece of regenerated history can be seen where the old fruit orchard has been replanted. The community wood is open to all local residents and is especially lovely at this time of year for a winter walk.

TWIG always welcomes new volunteers or visitors to the wood. If you would like any further information please e-mail twig@tonghamwood.org.uk

• The photograph depicts local volunteers cutting the ribbon to inaugurate their newly-built wooden bridge.
• Caption: “When past meets present”. Pictured, (left to right: seated) Carl Chadbond, Gromit. (Front row) Tony Anderson, Jane McCarty, Alan Eggleton, Christine Purser. (Back row) Paul Saunders, John Etherton, Iain Murray, Sheena Chadbond.
• Photo should be credited to Elizabeth Chan
• Tongham Wood Improvement Group (TWIG) was formed in July 2004 and is a local voluntary group set up to promote and manage Tongham Community Wood. Working under the guidance of the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership, TWIG has gradually been improving the area for the enjoyment and well being of the whole community, and also to protect the area from further development for the benefit of the local community.
• Tongham Community Wood is semi-natural woodland, with old oak stands and coppice stools, and is ideal for dog walkers and children.
• The Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership (BVCP) is funded by the County, District and Parish Councils along the River Blackwater. It works to promote community action in conservation and recreation and to protect the Valley for the enjoyment and well being of the whole community. For more information about BVCP visit www.blackwater-valley.org.uk

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