MIDDLE EARTH … and our own woodland project

MIDDLE EARTH ... and our own woodland project

As we sat outside The Middle Earth pub on Whitby’s harbour front, enjoying the early evening autumn sunshine, my wife looked at me and said “There’s something I want to talk to you about”. For a heart stopping moment my mind raced and I felt a mixture of emotions as I feared some dreadful news was coming my way. Instead, Jackie completely floored me by asking “How do feel you about us buying a wood?”   In the first instance I was speechless then apprehensive, confused and finally, elated!   Looking back, how I managed to hold onto my pint I’ll never know.

As we walked and talked Jackie explained how she’d accidently come across Woodlands.co.uk and had been receiving and deleting emails announcing new woods for sale for about a year. Buying a wood was not something we’d ever talked about or planned for but in a eureka moment she had realised that with my retirement coming up and with our mutual love of the great outdoors, those emails should no longer be deleted!

And so the adventure began. We researched via woodlands.co.uk and anything else we could on Google and began visiting woods within the vicinity of home but discounting them for different reasons.   Gradually, we pushed our search perimeter further away until the day, 1½ hours from home in the beautiful Vale of York, we found our wood.   As we walked down the main track Jackie suddenly stopped and said “Unless the wood we’ve come to see is an absolute disaster, this is going to be it because it feels right”.

Was the wood a disaster? It most certainly was not. As we made our way through the ride stop and headed off down the path to the bottom of the wood we both knew this was the one. I had goose bumps, it was such a wonderful euphoric feeling.

I now know that people buy woods for all sorts of reasons, perhaps as an investment, to keep active, learn new skills, and to meet new people. Our list of positives was a long one. As the legal process got underway - I drove up to the Vale of York one early winter afternoon to walk the wood and to just sit, watch and listen. I rang Jackie and said “I’ve got another good reason to add to our list ….. It’s so very good for the soul”.

We’ve been woodland owners for 1 year 3 months. We have deer, pheasants, woodcock, rabbits, stoats, woodpeckers, foxgloves, flag irises, carpets of bluebells, dozens of different fungi and stunning fairy rings, mature oaks, wild cherry, red oaks, pine, birch and not far short of 400 hundred young oak trees that we are systematically pulling free of brambles and re-staking. We’ve cleared ponds that fill up in winter and drain away at the end of spring and I’m coppicing during these winter months.

We’re happy to light the Kelly Kettle and say to other woodland owners pull up a chair, sit a while, chat and drink tea. Our daughters and friends enjoy working alongside us, chopping, clearing, stacking and planting new trees for the future. We have never regretted the purchase for a single minute and we still find ourselves in awe of what we own. We appreciate who we are, what we have and are generous with both and we do not have to search for happiness. Those that have visited have no need to ask the question “Why?” or “But what do you do in it?” Because they absolutely get it; we got it from day one.


Hi, This is a really lovely insight into your woodland journey, thanks for sharing.

Scott Marlow

23 August, 2018

Hi Dave.
Looks absolutely fantastic.
Could you email me grid reference so I can take a look where you are on OS maps?
Cheers Andy.

Andy Moon

6 March, 2018

Hi Geoff
Yes it was very easy. As soon as we confirmed to Woodlands.co.uk that we wanted to buy the wood they took it off the market whilst the legal process went ahead and that gave us peace of mind that we weren’t going to lose it. Although we had our own solicitor, Woodlands.co.uk have a list of solicitors dotted around the country that have acted for previous buyers and therefore know the process for buying from Woodlands.co.uk. The process is straightforward and we became owners in about 10 weeks.
Obviously though, each purchase will be different but other woodland owners that we’ve met generally seem to have the same view as us. Legal costs will vary from solicitor to solicitor and the best thing would be to get a few quotes for their fee and searches etc. Each area of the country has Woodland.co.uk managers that you liaise with to help understand the ins and outs of being a woodland owner. Ours are Liz and Dan for the Northern region. We have bridle paths through the main wood but not through the part we own. There are gates on the bridlepaths and woodland.co.uk provide owners with codes/keys etc. Owning a wood is marvellous, read a few of the other blogs and they all say the same, its a good investment too! I hope all goes well for you and that like us you find your perfect wood.
Dave and Jackie

Dave Kirkland

4 March, 2018

Was it easy to buy. I`ve been wanting to own a woodland for some time. I think you have done something really good. Are there any legal costs. Is there public right of way through your wood. i would love to hear more about the benefits of owning a wood and cost involved.

Geoff Benson

28 February, 2018

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