On the current Ordnance Survey map this wood is called Bloom Wood but on older maps it is called Broom Wood. The name Bloom (as opposed to Broom) might indicate the presence of past iron working (a bloom is a ball of molten metal, usually iron). Regardless of its name, this wood has a long history.
Archaeology in Marlow recently investigated the man-made earthwork which can be seen on the north side of the footpath at the top of the hill. The group believe the site is probably medieval and a gamekeeper, stockman or swineherd probably lived in or used a building in the inner enclosure, possibly as a family home. It is possible that either pigs or cows were kept in the inner enclosure and wild animals (deer or wild boar) corralled in the outer enclosure. An interpretation board by the footpath gives more information about the group's research and what they have found.
The earthwork can be reached either from Winchbottom Lane or from the footpath near The Crooked Billet in Sheepridge Lane. The climb up through the wood from Winchbottom Lane is very steep.
On the other side of Winchbottom Lane from Bloom Wood is Horton Wood. A footpath runs through Horton Wood between Ray Farm at the top of Winchbottom Lane and Burroughs Grove - sadly it doesn't meet up with the path through Bloom Wood. A local resident, Mrs Cripps, recently told her memories of Horton Wood (which her family called Home Wood) to a Special Trees & Woods Project volunteer as part of the Project's research in local history.
Her first memories were from her very early childhood when she was taken to see Shire horses hauling out timber - there were no tractors in those days. Later in her childhood Mrs Cripps, who grew up very close to the wood, remembers sitting quietly in Horton Wood watching its abundant wildlife - rabbits, weasels, stoats and the occasional fox. In those days red squirrels would be busy with fir cones in the pine trees above her.
She continued to spend time in the wood throughout her life. During the Second World War Horton Wood was a sanctuary of calm after the noise and bustle of her working day and, when time allowed, she would go to the wood, find a comfortable spot to sit down and write letters to her husband who was serving abroad with the Royal Marines.
Horton Wood has been a huge part of her life and she has many fond memories of happy hours spent wandering through the paths and glades watching the season's ever-changing beauty.
We would love to hear your stories of your local wood so please get in touch.