Extending Tween Towns Wood

Updated: Jun 8


Photos above Courtesy of Andy Tanser


Tween towns wood is my local wood in South Cambridgeshire between Guilden Morden and Steeple Morden. An opportunity has arisen to purchase some land adjacent to the wood to extend it. We need help to raise much needed funds.


Photo courtesy of Mervyn Thompson


But we are still £10,000 short of the final amount needed.

Can you help us reach the final sum needed to complete the purchase in the next few weeks?

Please help by donating today. Here’s how:

Donate directly to the Woodland Trust’s account – Sort code 309668 Account no 01050777 using ‘TTWE’ in your payment reference. Send a cheque payable to Woodland Trust and mark it on the back for ‘Tween Towns extension’ to Katy Bradshaw, Woodland Trust, Kempton Way, Grantham, Lincs NG31 6LL

Boost your donation by 25% more by gift aiding it. Simply email Katy at KatyBradshaw@woodlandtrust.org.uk stating you are a UK taxpayer with your full name and address. Or call her on 03432484078.

Thank you!


Below is an article by Professor Mike Norton with more information on the project:


Extending the Tween Towns Wood - a wood for both Mordens


The UK has one of the lowest percentages of woodland in Europe countries (at 13% of total land area), and England at 10% has the lowest within Britain. In England, Cambridgeshire is among the lowest wooded counties. It is against that background that a group of local people got together to try to convert 13.6 acres of land between Steeple and Guilden Morden into an extension of the existing Tween Towns Wood.

In the last 20-30 years two woodlands that have been created in the Mordens parishes - White Ponds and Tween Towns - both the result of local initiatives in conjunction with the Woodland Trust. White Ponds Wood was created in 1993 when local farmer Lou Hitch kindly agreed to sell his 3-acre field adjacent to the flower meadows in Steeple Morden. Tween Towns Wood came to fruition in 1999 - both were quite big expansions for the Parishes which previously had little concentration of woodland, and were made possible by government woodland grants at the time.

When a 13.6 acre plot at North Brook End became available at the end of last year, it offered the possibility of more than doubling the area of community woodlands if we only could find a way. The local Zero Carbon group had a brief brainstorming session as to what might be done if we could purchase the land. One idea was to use it for establishing solar panels, though that would only achieve one objective-low carbon energy. In contrast, converting to woodland would start soaking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and increase the area as a home to a range of species that had been declining for many years, so countering the loss of biodiversity. This would be helped by its being adjacent to Tween Towns Wood. Unfortunately the one-off grants available to the Parish Councils at the time of the previous woods are no longer available. Moreover this was not a purchase from a kind villager who offered low prices but a competitive bid based on an ‘offers-above’ basis. So we decided to talk to the Woodland Trust about the possibility of working together on a third woodland project.

We soon found their budgets were not available – partly due to their successes in other parts of the country – so we set about purchasing the land ourselves in order to donate to the Woodland Trust for them to convert to woodland and maintain it. To be very short, we were out-bid on the original purchase competition, but 3 months later when the winning bid ran into difficulties, we managed to get a second chance and the purchase is now going through. One of us chipped in half of the price to get the process going and we’re hoping that the support and generosity of others in Steeple and Guilden Morden will help bridge the remaining gap. Once the land is actually purchased, there will be no immediate rush to plant, and we hope to establish some form of local community engagement in designing the planting regime, and hopefully involve local groups in the actual process. But that will be later in the year and running into next year since planting is not envisaged before 2023/4.

In talking to people, we sometimes receive a comment that conversion to woodland has the negative effects of taking land out of agricultural production, which of course is perfect valid. There is no simple answer to this because in reality land has so many potential uses, and getting the ‘right‘ use can be very difficult when so many conflicting economic and special interests are involved. Overall, we do believe strongly that we should increasingly treat land as scarce and put much more emphasis on protecting remaining intact land, and ensuring it remains productive and useable whether for agriculture or natural ecosystem restoration. That should be prioritised over its permanent loss to the destructive uses of road building, housing and airport runways as is still the priority of so many others. The plus points for conversion to woodland is that ultimately something between 400 and 600 tons of carbon dioxide are taken out of the atmosphere for every hectare, and we hope it may help slow or even reverse our losses of birds, rare flowers and insects as well as providing a wider recreational space for our many dog walkers and ramblers. It is also in tune with the current priorities which are to work on both climate change and biodiversity together and transform agriculture into a more regenerative and sustainable model, where natural vegetation can provide the haven for a myriad of beneficial insects that can provide the farmer some benefit by eating pest species that currently are attacked with insecticides.

Overall we really hope that the communities of Steeple and Guilden will, in the long run, support and enjoy this expansion to our community woodlands.


Professor Mike Norton

On behalf of the Zero Carbon Mordens group


Woodlands all over the country are vitally important habitats for small Invertebrate's, Birds, Butterflies, Moths, Fungi, Wildflowers and much more. Tween Town Wood is just a small woodland but it brings a bit of nature closer to home for the whole community to enjoy.

Mervyn Thompson (member of the woodland Trust) is a local man from Steeple Morden and a regular visitor to the wood, he has many photos from the wood over the years, below are some of his pics showing 1 particular view and how it has changed as the woodland grew, followed by a list of the flora recorded in the wood. (just click on the arrow)


Photos above courtesy of Mervyn Thompson

A list of the flora recorded at Tween Towns Wood


AGRIMONY AGRIMONY, Hemp ASH BASIL, Wild BEDSTRAW, Hedge BEDSTRAW, Lady's BEECH BELLFLOWER, Peach-leaved BINDWEED, Field BINDWEED, Hedge BITTERSWEET BLACKTHORN BRAMBLE BRYONY, Black BRYONY, White BUCKTHORN (Purging) BUCKTHORN, Alder BURDOCK BUTTERCUP, Bulbous BUTTERCUP, Creeping BUTTERCUP, Meadow CAMPION, Red CAMPION, White CARROT, Wild CELANDINE, Lesser CENTAURY, Common CHERRY, Wild CHERRY-PLUM CHICKWEED, Common CHICORY CLEAVERS, Common CLOVER, Red CLOVER, White COLTSFOOT COWSLIP CRANESBILL, Cut-leaved DAISY DAISY, Ox-eye DANDELION DEAD-NETTLE, White DOCK, Clustered DOCK, Curled DOGWOOD ELDER FAT HEN FIGWORT, Water FLUELLEN, Sharp-leaved FORGETMENOT, Changing FORGETMENOT, Field FORGETMENOT, Wood Gall OAK Gall ROBIN'S PIN CUSHION GOATSBEARD GOOSEFOOT, Red Grass, Cocksfoot Grass, Timothy GROUND IVY GROUNDSEL GUELDER ROSE HAWKSBEARD, Smooth HAWTHORN, Common HAZEL HEMLOCK HERB BENNET (Wood Avens) HERB ROBERT HOGWEED HOREHOUND, Black HORSETAIL, field IRIS, Yellow (Flag) KNAPWEED, Black KNOTGRASS LEEK, Round-headed LETTUCE, Prickly LIME, Common MALLOW, Common MAPLE, Field MAYWEED, Pineapple MAYWEED, Scentless MEADOWSWEET MEDICK, Black MUGWORT MUSTARD, Hedge NETTLE, Stinging NIGHTSHADE, Black NIPPLEWORT OAK, Holm ORCHID, Bee ORCHID, Pyramidal OSIER OX-TONGUE, Bristly PANSY, Field PARSLEY, Cow PIMPERNEL, Scarlet PLANTAIN, Greater PLANTAIN, Hoary PLANTAIN, Ribwort POPPY, Common POPPY, Opium PRIMROSE PRIVET, Wild RAGWORT REDSHANK REED ROSE, Dog SAINFOIN SCABIOUS, Field SELF-HEAL SHEPHERD'S PURSE SKULLCAP, Lesser SOW-THISTLE, Perennial SOW-THISTLE, Prickly SOW-THISTLE, Smooth SPEEDWELL, Common Field SPEEDWELL, Germander SPINDLE TREE ST. JOHN'S WORT STITCHWORT, Lesser SYCAMORE TARE, Hairy TEASEL THISTLE, Creeping THISTLE, Slender THISTLE, Spear THISTLE, Welted TRAVELLER'S JOY TREFOIL, Birdsfoot TREFOIL, Hop TREFOIL, Lesser VETCH, Common VIOLET, Common Dog WAYFARING TREE WILD OAT WILLOW, Goat (Pussy) WILLOW, White WILLOWHERB, Broad-leaved WILLOWHERB, Great WILLOWHERB, Rosebay WILLOWHERB, Square-stemmed WOUNDWORT, Hedge YARROW YELLOW-WORT

A few photos of some of the flowers recorded in Tween Towns Wood .

Flowers observed by Mervyn Thompson and Geoffrey Allgood





Spindle Tree, a group on the east walk of Tween Towns











Red Campion, not many sites locally but It is spreading















Common Centaury, only seen locally in Tween Towns











Pyramidal Orchid, seems to be taking over from the Bee Orchid in recent years













Flower Photos courtesy of Mervyn Thompson


A Marbled White Butterfly seen at Tween Towns

Photo courtesy of Mervyn Thompson




If you would like to find out more about The Woodland Trust and its work then please click on this link: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/ and this for info/location of Tween Town Wood: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/woods/tween-towns-wood/


Hopefully this blog has given you some insight into what can be achieved when planting a woodland from scratch and the benefits it can bring to wildlife and the local community. Please, if you can give anything to help us secure the land to extend the wood then please do follow the links at the top of the page. Help us secure the wood for future generations.



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