by Bill Young
Green Farm is situated in Green Lane, immediately to the north of Beacon Hill, and is described as being near Churt. It comprises about 200 acres (81 ha) in all, made up of about 35 acres (14.2 ha) of pasture, with the rest being woodland and heathland (mostly woodland). There is also a farmhouse and cottage, which are currently rented out — there is no tenant farmer. The former owner, John Broadbent-Jones, gifted Green Farm to the Trust and continued to manage it until he died during 2009.
The main parts of the farm are Upper Forest, which abuts the housing estates at Beacon Hill to the south, and some pastureland immediately around the farm and alongside Old Barn Lane. All this is to the west of the Tilford Road.
To the east of the road, about a mile from the farm, there is a long strip of land made up of Hyde Copse (now Elizabeth’s Wood) to the north of Hyde Lane, and Gravel Hanger to the south of Hyde Lane. As you will realise, the parcels of land are scattered, probably having been bought as they became available.
Upper Forest is a mixture of pine plantation and chestnut coppice, of which John Broadbent-Jones was replacing pines with mixed broadleaved trees over a period of time. He employed a forester to carry out the work, and at the time of his death he and the forester thought that the ratio of pines to broadleaves present was about right.
The pines and sweet chestnut represent some income for the farm, and suitable areas are felled when the market, and the trees, are right. This winter, for instance, about 2 acres (0.81 ha) of sweet chestnut coppice have been felled and sawn for sale to go for fencing material.
There is also a smallish heathland area in Upper Forest, caused by a fire which was started in part of a pine plantation. This has been kept as heathland, and there are potentially plans to extend this area.
Thus, this forest is made up of pine plantation, sweet chestnut coppice, heathland, and extensive areas of young broadleaved trees, creating a variety of habitats. There are plenty of tracks throughout the Forest, which are much used for walking by the residents of Beacon Hill.
The pastureland is, well, pastureland! There is, however, a very small woodland in a corner of one field.
Elizabeth’s Wood comprises mature oak trees, with birch saplings invading the spaces between the trees. It is a lovely, peaceful place.
Gravel Hanger has an area of heathland, with a strip of mixed woodland running northwards, in which there are some hybrid larch. There are also plans to extend the heathland area here.