Beechfield Nature Area
Beechfield Nature Area is situated along Middlewick Lane, in Pickwick, Corsham. The nature area was formerly part of the grounds of Beechfield House and the land – approximately two hectares in size - was transferred to the Council’s ownership in 2002.
The Council’s aim is to improve the amenity, recreational and nature conservation value of Beechfield, widening its appeal to the people of Corsham, while retaining its original character. In 2013, following advice from the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, a wildlife pond was constructed at the western end of the site. The pond is now inhabited by a wide range of plants and small creatures.
There is rarely a moment when something is not happening at Beechfield, given the range of birds, animals and insects attracted to what is officially described as an “open and wooded limestone upland”.
Plants present include Bee Orchid, Meadow Cranesbill, Birds Foot Trefoil. Herb Robert, Meadow Vetching, Red Bartsia, Common Fleabane and Cowslips. The mature and young trees on the site include Birch, Sycamore, Maple, Ash, Elm, Poplar, Cherry, Oak and Beech. And bird and animal lovers may well spot Partridges, Green Woodpeckers, Deer, Foxes, Rabbits, Bullfinches, Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests, Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Tawny Owls, Long Tailed Tits and multiple species of Bats. (Bird and bat boxes were made and fitted to mature trees by the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.)
Beechfield is for everyone to enjoy - and is within a Conservation Area - so camping, bonfires and barbecues are not permitted.
Bird and bat boxes were made and fitted to mature trees by the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
Beechfield Management and Maintenance Plan
The Batters runs alongside the Great Western railway line and Byde Mill Brook, from Pound Pill/Prospect at one end to Brook Drive at the other. The area was originally used by the Scots Guards in 1915, during the First World War, for trench-digging and realistic training before they headed to France.
The Town Council owns and manages The Batters specifically to protect and encourage wildlife, while permitting public access. Its 1.5 hectares are maintained as open space with a woodland walk, with footpaths and mown grass. In the 1990s volunteers carried out scrub and vegetation clearance, replanted trees and re-laid paths and the Town Council has continued that work.
The woodland area consists mainly of Ash and Hawthorn, with Sycamore and Elm, in varying sizes and condition. Ground flora includes Ground Elder, Wild Garlic, Cow Parsley and Dogs Mercury. Part of the footpath and brook – classified as a Main River by the Environment Agency in 2004 – go through the lower area of the woodland. There are several mature trees here, including a significant Wych Elm, along with wildlife attracted by the stream, which has a range of ferns along its bank