St John's College Oxford

Silver medal for Bagley Wood in the Duke of Cornwall Award

Date 12 July 2019

Congratulations to all stakeholders on this prestigious achievement

Bagley Wood BluebellsThe purpose of The Duke of Cornwall's Award for Resilient Multi-purpose Forestry is to recognise woods that are managed for ecological and economic resilience to threats such as pests, disease and climate change in order to meet commercial, environmental and social objectives.

Bagley Wood is a beautiful 230-hectare (568-acre) wood on the edge of Oxford, most of which has been owned by St John’s College since 1557, just two years after the College was founded.  The majority of its trees are of native species and almost all of it has been continuously wooded since at least 1600 which means that, in large part, it is classified as Ancient Semi Natural Woodland (ASNW): a fine remnant of England’s original natural forest. The wood is open to permissive public access on maintained (‘Stone’ or ‘mown’) routes, via gated entrances only.

Forestry policies now are directed more towards its status as ancient woodland.  The characteristic patchwork plantations are retained in smaller, coherent units of high-value timber with a range of tree species, all set within a much larger matrix of native woodland.  Timber value remains important throughout, but such value is attained through woodland that supports high biodiversity, a stunning landscape and inclusive public amenity. 

Peter Oliver, the College's Consultant Forester, commented: 'This is a really good outcome. It means that Bagley was judged to be in the top two in east and south central England, within which there would have been some very strong entrants.'

Prof Nicholas Harberd, Keeper of Bagley Wood and Sibthorpian Professor of Plant Sciences at the University said: 'On behalf of St John’s College, we are honoured and delighted that our strategies for management of our ancient woodland and for enabling community access to it are so strongly endorsed by this award from the RFS.'

Bagley Wood