Forest , Marlborough
is a surviving remnant of one of Wiltshire's ancient 'Royal
Forests' much beloved by Norman kings. Today the forest is
leased to the Forestry Commission and access is via many paths
and tracks. It remains a place of mystery and imagination
and an important habitat for a number of wild birds, plants
is the only area of ancient forest not owned by the Crown
and its historical roots run as deep as some of the many ancient
trees that survive in the forest today.
is famous for the Big Belly Oak, a 1000 year old oak
tree close to the A345 on the western edge of the forest.
Legend has it that the devil can be summoned by anyone dancing
naked round the tree.
is probable that Sir John Seymour, the forest's Tudor steward
would have known this old tree - and it is said that it was
in Savernake that Henry VIII met Seymour's daughter,
of the younger oaks, together with the broad avenues of beech
trees were established by the great C18th landscaper 'Capability'
King George III recovered from his illness, the First
Earl of Ailesbury, Thomas Bruce, built the column that
can be found in the south-east corner of Savernake Forest.
marrying Susanna Hoare, the daughter of Henry Hoare (who had
laid out the gardens at Stourhead) the Earl took the advice
of his father-in-law and engaged the great C18th landscaper
of Brown's features is The Grand Avenue, which is five
km (three miles) long - at the centre of which, Eight Walks
radiate out into the surrounding forest.
the many stories associated with Savernake, many concern ghostly
apparitions, often seen at dusk darting in and out of the
tale, recalled by the ghost hunter Peter Underwood, talks
of a headless woman who rides a white horse along one of the
avenues of trees.
to Peter: "She is said to be the ghost of a girl who
was decapitated when her horse bolted through the trees that
then grew everywhere, during a long ago royal hunting party."
who live within Savernake, in places like Cadley or Great
Bedwyn, talk of ghostly goings-on, with tales of eerie sounds
coming from deep within the blackness of the forest as well
as suggestions of witches covens and other 'dark' practices.
its variety of flora and fauna, Savernake is recognised as
a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
for The Moonraking Gallery
I am studying Savernake for a university project. Having lived just north of Marlborough, for part of my life, I still feel I don't know much at all about Savernake and yet, I'm now learning so much.
my great grand parents are buried in the old church at Cadley and they and my grandmother and her sister lived just opposite the church.
Libby Gilbert is quite correct - it is the big BELLIED oak not big belly. I grew up in Savernake Forest (The Bungalow at Savernake Lodge) and could tell a lot about the forest.
Savernake Forest is part of my ancestral home and I hope to visit soon. Seeing it here is a joy. Thank you.
I love walking through Savernake during the autumn when all the leaves have a glorious red/ orange and yellow hues. Especially kicking up the leaves with the dog chasing them all!
It's the big BELLIED oak, not the Big Belly Oak!
Sounds interesting, but I resent the use of Witccraft being called a "dark" practice. We're not in Salem people!
My Grandparents lived at Luton lye cottages, my uncle still lives there. I and my sisters spent many a day exploring the forest as children lovely place .
It's a fantastic forest to get lost in as a child, and an adult. Many wonderful nooks and crannies to sit and escape everything. A truly magical place to be.
that is amazing. I think that there should be a map of wiltshire telling us what features there are
to find it
of Marlborough, bordered by Great Bedwyn in the south, the
A4 in the north and the A345 in the west.
to see Multimap location*
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