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Whitehill Shaw

Whitehill Shaw is in the parish of Pishill. Stories lie behind both the name of the wood and the name of the parish.

A wood is not always a wood. Many woods in the Chilterns are called 'Grove', 'Copse' or 'Shaw' instead of wood. The word shaw may come from Middle English and it means a small wood or thicket. Copse comes from the word coppice which refers to the management practice of cutting trees down near ground level every so many years. When this is done the tree regenerates by producing many new shoots from the stump or stool. The new stems can grow at more than two inches a day resulting in a reliable crop of rods, poles or logs. Many species of tree coppice well - maple, hazel, ash, hornbeam, alder, willows, oak and beech.

According to the Victorian County History for the County of Oxford, the parish was formed soon after the Doomsday survey. The name 'Pishill' means 'hills on which peas grow'. The whole of the ancient parish in on chalk hills (doubtless the derivation of 'Whitehill') which are largely covered in a patchwork of beechwoods and small fields.

A special tree in Whitehill Shaw inspired artist Ticia Lever to create this tapestry which she entered in the Special Woods Art Competition:

'On the edge' by Ticia Lever

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