Friends of Concord Park & Woolley Wood


A BRIEF HISTORY OF WOOLLEY WOOD

WOOLLEY WOOD - HISTORY AND HERITAGE
ARCHAEOLOGY

Over the years, Woolley Wood has been the source of a number of interesting archaeological finds including the remains of a Bronze Age axe or hammer and a coin and sherds of pottery dating from Romano-British times. Recent archaeological surveys as part of the 'Fuelling a Revolution' programme have revealed a number of features relating to the past management of the wood, including a possible medieval boundary ditch, an old drystone wall, and platforms associated with charcoal burning. A number of quarries, pits and hollows found within the wood are associated with the search for coal and other minerals. The sandstones underlying the wood are fine-grained and suitable for the production of grindstones, and these were probably produced locally in the 19th century.

ANCIENT WOODLAND STATUS

There is reliable documentary evidence to show that the site of Woolley Wood has been wooded since at least the 16th century. The first written record of the wood is in a court record dating from 1597 and refers to it as Woolywoodside, meaning a woodland clearing frequented by wolves, a name that persisted as late as the 19th century. A more detailed description can be found in a survey dating from 1637, in which the woodland is described in two parts, Little Woolley Wood and Great Woolley Wood.
The site and situation of Woolley Wood is typical of ancient woodlands. It is situated on steeply sloping land, other more accessible areas having been cleared for agriculture or settlements. It is also, in common with many other ancient woodlands, located at the edge of a parish, in this case that of Ecclesfield. In addition, 15 plants that indicate that the woodland is of ancient origin have been recorded. Of these, seven are rarely found outside of ancient woodland.

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