Welcome to the Blog of Cutler´s Wood, an Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland in the Kent North Downs AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

Cutler´s is 42 hectares (ca. 103 acres) of native broadleaf woodland managed primarily as wildlife and flora habitat but also to provide some timber from coppice rotation which is used for traditional fencing and woodfuel. Adjacent to Cutler´s Wood is Cutler´s Farm, made up of the farmyard with barns and 6 hectares (ca. 15 acres) of pasture land, which presently is used for sheep grazing.

Bordering onto the Forestry Commission´s Kings Wood to the south west, privately owned Stanner´s Wood to the north west, The Woodland Trust´s Park Wood to the north and the privately owned Ridge Wood and Felborough Wood to the east, this area makes up over 2000 acres of connected woodland and one of the largest woodlands in the South East of England. This whole area was once part of a royal hunting forest for deer and boar.

Edward Hasted´s map of Cutler´s area published 1798 but showing the area apparently around 1778. Cutler´s Farm seems not to have existed yet.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Pictures of Autumn

Walking through Cutler´s Wood you find many holes, craters, ditches and embankments, the explanations for which are not always obvious. Some are so called dene holes, although what they actually were for, nobody can really say. Some will be chalk quarries or pits, others perhaps for extracting the flint nodules from the clay. Some may be bomb or even V1 flying bomb craters from WWII. Some 8000 V1 flying bombs aimed at London, fell sort of target and crashed into Kent. A USAF Grumman Avenger fighter bomber also crashed into Cutler´s Wood during WWII, the pilot of which escaped by bailing out. Quite a bit of the Battle of Britain took place in the skies above this part of Kent.  
There are ditches and embankments, which may mark boundaries such as parish boundaries or the very boundary of the wood itself, this especially conspicuous on the western edge of Fagg´s Wood. Other bank and ditch systems may be much older, perhaps the remains of enclosures for animals or settlements. The ditch would nearly always be on the outside and the bank on the inside and would be designed to protect whatever was in the enclosure or to stop it escaping into the woodland. 
One form of hole in the ground which is easier to identify is a saw pit, of which there are a number in Cutler´s Wood. Nearly always at the bottom of a slope (you wouldn´t want to roll sawlogs uphill, would you?) and next to a track for ease of extraction of the saw planks, they are longer than wide and the spoil from the pit will be still visible piled next to the pit. Originally they would have been deep enough for one sawyer to be in the pit sawing upwards and another sawyer would be on the plank sawing downwards. The bottom picture of the above series of photographs shows the remains of a sawpit alongside a track near Cutler´s Farm.  

Photography by Carol Fulton, Canterbury,