Millennium Wood - recent activity

High Ham Millennium Wood: Cooke's Lane TA10 9BA    Instagram
Owned and managed by High Ham Parish Council

The site has a large car park, picnic tables, benches, pond-side shelter, den-building area, bug hotels, and more ...

We hope you enjoy your visit, and love Millennium Wood as much as the volunteers, Parish Lengthsman Craig Howe, and contractors who work hard to maintain it in the condition you will find today. 

'Leave only your footprints, make only memories and, maybe, make a den for others to discover.' Craig Howe, Parish Lengthsman

The story of Millennium Wood

The Lengthsman Pages gives details of Craig Howe's recent work in MW. Click on the INSTAGRAM logo for more detailed updates  

Recent Activity

April '24: The rides and paths have been mown, and further work on removing diseased and overcrowded trees, continued. Some banks of bramble, adjacent to activity areas, have been cut. The native bluebells planted 5 years ago are now spreading and can be seen in small clusters. The wild garlic planted at the same time is still ‘shy' and can only be seen alongside one path. It is hoped it will spread enough that it will be smelt before seen!


Feb/March '24: Lengthsman Craig and Rachael Howe have been carrying out thinning in Millennium Wood, removing some of the worst affected ash trees, focusing mainly on those that are close to the rides and areas of higher footfall.

December '23: Bramble bashing and hedge trimming  continued in Millennium Wood. Thinning will continue, to allow growing space for healthy trees and lose the look of a plantation. The felling of diseased ash trees will continue.

October '23: Millennium Wood: recent work has included hedge trimming and reinstatement of rotted sections of Woodhenge, the repair of a broken bench in the "outdoor classroom" area.

Plans for further works at Millennium Wood include bramble bashing, pond clearance and thinning.

Craig is now qualified to do tree surveys, which might be a useful exercise to do for the trees owned by the parish to establish the overall condition of them on the various sites such as the green, cemetery, playing field,The Pound.

June '23: Members of High Ham's Book Group met at Millennium Wood on 30th June  - an appropriate location to discuss its 83rd book,  'Overstory' by Richard Powers, a story of a handful of people who learn to see the world, and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.


The group were joined by Frances Wolverton who has been joining in book discussions for some years, from her home in Italy. It was a pleasure to see and talk to her in the flesh!!

The discussion of the book was, as always, enthusiastic with varying views that kept us talking and diverting to many related subjects. Summer refreshments kept us sustained, as did the laughter. 2 1/2 hours later, we left the woodland. Frances has chosen our next book: Small things Like These by Claire Keegan.

May '23: May 3rd in Millennium Wood, Nick Fear assisted by 14 members of High Ham Ladies, planted a Horse Chestnut tree to commemorate the Coronation of Charles 111. The tree was donated by HH Ladies, the guard and stakes by Nick, the temporary plaque by Margaret and Mike Cox. Nick will be installing a sturdy tree guard later. A gift of thanks was presented to Nick.      


April '23 Rachael Howe, a member of High Ham's Parish Lengthsman Team, was commissioned by High Ham Parish Council to make a new set of 20 'Lost Words' plaques for Millennium Wood, to replace the old ones. The plaques were installed in the woodland on the 18th April. Each plaque has a brief description on the reverse. The plaques were inspired by the book The Lost Words: A Spell Book  written by Robert MacFarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris. From Acorn to Weasel, the hand-illustrated, large-format spell book celebrates the natural world and the words disappearing from children's lives, words like Dandelion, Otter, Bramble, Acorn, Lark ... 3 years after planting bulbs, Ramsons/Wild Garlic can now been seen in various areas of the woodland - hopefully, in the next year or so it will will be seen in swathes, enough to forage.


Feb/March '23 Craig and Rachael Howe have carried out further felling of diseased ash trees; replaced some of the rotted Stepping Stumps; reset the broken sign for the Outdoor Classroom. mowing of paths and rides has restarted.

NOVEMBER '22 Rachael Howe, our Co-Lengthsman cleared a large bank of bramble, freeing some trees that had been smothered, and opening up a view to the pond. There is still plenty of bramble left for wildlife to inhabit. The bullrushes that were consuming much of the pond were cleared by the work party -Rachael, Nick, Roger, Amanda and Dave. Craig continued the planned programme felling dead, diseased and overcrowded trees. There will be planting of native trees in December .


October '22 A site meeting with Craig, Racheal, Dave V, Roger P, and Amanda agreed the tree management tasks for the winter months. The work will include felling dead and diseased trees. Selected hazels will be coppiced. Willow and dogwoood along paths will be cut back. Ground will be prepared for new planting of native trees. A work party to clear invasive vegetation from the pond was arranged for early November. Jo Russell, Yellowmead Farm, has offered to repair the 3 vandalised Bug Hotels in MW. 

May '22 At a site meeting Dave Vigar and Amanda Chuter met Simon Grindrod (owner and sole oprerative of Loler Arboricultural Service, and occasional assistant to Lengthsman Craig on large tree works in parish). Simon offered the following proposal: A one-off gift to MW from Simon as the proprietor of a small local Arborcultural contractor, with the aim to offset some of his carbon usage by planting trees locally. The offer is to:

 *Autumn 2022 to plant native trees to the value of £1,000, sourced from a local tree nursery. Planting position and timing would be discussed with Craig Howe to ensure the planting contributes to the current  work removing dead and diseased trees, and replanting where appropriate.
* 2022/23  monitor the trees and ensure they are watered

April '22 


The native bluebells planted a few years ago are slowly taking hold in the woodland - many small clusters seen on 24th April. Wild garlic also planted is not taking hold as hoped - only 2 plants seen on the 24th. Cowslips have appeared near the pond. 

February '22 Thinnings from Craig's recent work are now available in the Den Building Area to build more dens. Where Ash trees have been felled, Craig recommends further replanting, especially in the den-building area. He has also pollarded a diseased ash tree within the bottom hedgerow. He has left it it as a pollarded stem to see if it regenerates as an experiment, if not it can be felled. Craig has also cleared some storm damage in the wood.


January '22 Craig has continued the work of thinning overcrowded, diseased and dead trees, allowing health trees to grow unhindered, and to create a more natural looking woodland, rather than a plantation. Some of the banks of bramble have been cut down, still leaving some for insect habitat. 


November '21 Our Parish Lengthsman Team, Craig and Rachel Howe, were helped by Roger Powell, Amanda Chuter, and Dave Vigar. This afternoon Craig and Rachel will be doing some bramble bashing, and later in the week, the fallen tree at the edge of the pond will be removed. The rushes will be left at the side of the pond to allow pond creatures to return to the water, and at a later date, will be removed. 


October 202At a recent site meeting the ongoing programme of thinning and coppicing was discussed and it was agreed that the priority for this winter is to: fell the the infected and dead ash trees (ash die-back) that are sited along the rides and paths; then continue removing infected tees within the plantations.


May 2021


May 2021  The annual clearance of invasive Parrot Weed from the pond in Millennium Wood. The weed forms dense mats, shading out existing native species and preventing new seedlings of native species from establishing, and replaces species that usually grow on the margins of waterbodies.Lots of news seen. The work party: Rachael Howe (member of the Parish Lengthsman Team), Robert Webb, Dave Vigar, Amanda Chuter.
January 2021  Parish Lengthsman, Craig Howe, continued the planned coppicing, and tree thinning to provide space for the remaining trees to grow unimpeded. The result is that MW is looking more like a natural woodland than a plantation. The felled timber is staying on site for wildlife habitat and future MW projects. Den builders will find new material waiting for them in the Den Building Area.


November 2021 Craig as now done the final grass-cut of the year. Cutting of the boundary hedge by Olly Howley has commenced.

October 2021 Since 2016 there has been a campaign to eradicate the invasive Parrot Feather Weed from the pond. led by Craig, our Parish Lengthsman, Dave Vigar with his digger, and volunteers, the weed that once consumed the whole pond is now minimal (see last photo), but is still able to increase again. Another work party will be needed. The leaflet by Phil Brewin from Somerset Drainage Boards Consortium explains the invasive species to be aware of on the Levels.


June 2020 Following years when only the occasional Pyrimidal Orchid was seen, this month has seen the hundreds appearing throughout the woodland.


March 2020 Craig completed the tree thinning for this season. A thick bed of chippings was placed under the benches, picnic tables, and in the stepping log play area. The rides were mown. 

40 native tree whips from the Woodland Trust were planted.


29.11.19 Site Meeting attended by Paul Brunsdon, Amanda Chuter, Craig Howe, Tim Lawton, Dave Vigar

Charlotte and Tim collecting tree guards

Following discussion, a draft plan was drawn up by Tim, and will be circulated to the MW management group  for comment, and before January meeting, the final copy to the PC. The redundant tree guards have been collected and will be re-used to protect self-sown seedlings. A successful grant application was made to the Woodland Trust. In March '20 'the following will be delivered and planted:
Hedge (30 saplings) dog rose, hawthorn, hazel, crab-apple, dogwood
Copse  (30 saplings) silver birch, rowan, wild cherry

06.12.19 Mild  


29.11.19  Site meeting to decide tasks for the winter months, and long-term management of the woodland. Craig Howe - High Ham Parish Lengthsman, Dave Vigar - Chair Parish Council, Paul Brunsdon and Amanda Chuter - HH PC, Tim Lawton. Programme of work informed by advice given by Craig, Tim and Paul (all experienced in tree/woodland management) to safeguard the health of the woodland, the safety of visitors. In next few weeks, visitors to wood will notice redundant tree guards collected together - will be re-used to protect self-sown seedlings and introduced seedlings. In the far-end plantation, Craig will be felling diseased ash trees, other diseased trees that are sited along the edge of rides/paths, and some clearance of bramble.

19.04.19 The pond was cleared of algae and Parrot Weed by Lengthsman Craig Howe, with help from Roger Powell, Amanda Chuter, John Chuter. Native Stinking Iris plants were planted by Roger and Viv Hall.


 Site meeting - Craig, Dave, Roger H, Roger P, Amanda, agreed work for  2019. As well as grass cutting, there will be a clearing in early May of pond algae and parrot weed; installing anti-slip strips on deck of pond-side shelter; coppicing 2 hazels to provide material for den-building area; planting stinking iris and wild garlic bulbs. Next winter the planned programme of tree thinning will continue, prioritising crowded/diseased tree, particularly those alongside paths, play and den-building area.

The Lost Words plaques are currently being cleaned up - they will be all in place by early April.

The box of ‘challenges’ are available in the pond-side shelter.

December 2018


Lengthsman Craig Howe and Olly Howley have been continuing the winter management of the woodland : boundary hedges have been cut, and the felling of selected trees has continued to create space for other trees to continuing growing. When you walk around the wood you will see trees marked - Craig will be felling those during the winter. Brash will be burnt, and the timber left to season for future log sales.

September 2018 September 9th: 33 nets of seasoned logs sold , the logs a result of Craig Howe's work in MW recent years. The monies raised will go towards the upkeep of the woodland. Thanks to the 'sales team' of Craig, Dave Vigar and Amanda Chuter, and to Dave for the use of his tractor. On the day, Craig and Roger Hall discussed which trees required thinning out in coming months. Amy Jenkins and her children trialled the new Family Challenges - now stored in the pond-side shelter.


                                                                                      The 6 Family Challenges


August 2018 Site meeting: Craig Howe, Dave Vigar, Amanda Chuter, Roger Hall, Amy Jenkins, Roger Powell, - also Rachael Howe. Trees identified for crown lifting and thinning out later this year. Decided to let bird feeder go to High Ham Primary School for Amy to use in a project. Rachael installed her 'Lost Words' plaques around wood. Rachael's 6 family activity sheets will be availabe from September to download from this website, and in pond-side shelter.


July 2018 The pond cleared of various invasive weeds and algae by Craig and Rachael Howe, Dave Vigar, Amanda Chuter, Roger Powell, Amy Jenkins.


June 2018 Weed spraying, grass cutting - Craig Howe. Future events:  tbc July 20th Pond clearing session; Site Meeting (Craig H, Dave V, Roger H,  Amanda C,  Amy J)  - 8th August; Open Day - 9th September to coincide with Produce Show (Amy J liaison). MW activity sheets and plaques (designed and made by Rachael Howe) to be available Open Day.   Offer of Stinking Iris plants and 4 wild pears (whips) to be planted in Autumn.

May 2018 Visit by Mary Ostler Area North Community Development Officer - a preliminary to making a small grant application for on-site activity resources. Fingerpost moved to safer location on Stout Hill - thanks to Dave for helping Craig. Rides mown.

Site meeting: Dave V, Amy J, Craig H (Lengthsman) Amanda C. Roger Hall gave apology

       Following agreed: tree thinning to continue
       Open Day proposed sept 9th to coincide with village produce show. Amy to liaise with Produce       
       Show Committee
       Invasive Parrot Weed regrowing in MW. Amy to enquire with local colleges  can help
       Car park - enlargement suggested and grass-protection mesh laid. Dave V to investigate.

April 2018 In last 2 months, large areas of bramble cleared - some small areas left as wildlife habitat. Cordwood processed into split logs and.Trees pruned/felled to increase light to Weeping Ash and Beech. Some of Hazel coppiced. Some brash left at Den Building area, rest to be processed later for bean poles. Brash from February work, chipped. Grass mowing delayed - ground too wet/ soft. 10.04.18 Site meeting Dave V, Amanda C, Amy D, Craig H (Lengthsman).

March 2018 The thaw begins after 3 days of snow, severe cold and very strong winds.

21.11.17 New signs installed by Craig - made with MW timber, pyrography by Rae Howe, Craig's wife. 

Clearing pond of invasive Parrot Weed - Craig, Amy, Amanda


04.10.17 Road direction signs installed by Christopher and David


13.09.17 Site Meeting: Dave Vigar, Roger Hall, Amanda Chuter, Amy Jenkins. autumn/winter tasks decided: coppicing hazel; thinning; bramble clearing; cutting back vegetation along rides; clearing pond of Parrot Weed, Cutting boundary hedges.