Voltaire's Wood is a classic English woodland in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, just outside of Stroud in Gloucestershire. Once part of the estate of Henry VIII, it has been home to and roamed on by charcoal burners, pig farmers, timber merchants, aristocracy, and even political economists!
With over a hundred acres of semi-ancient natural woodland - beech, ash and oak, wild cherry and hazel - to explore, and food to forage - fungi, wild garlic and more - each season has its own surprise.
WHY THE NAME?
You won't find the woods on a formal map. Voltaire is not the French philosopher; it is the name of the family dog. A Hungarian vizsla, he thinks he owns the place. We've named the woods after him, and hope others will find as much pleasure here as he does.
The woods were in a state of neglect when we took it on in 2015. We are restoring old tracks, thinning out overgrown areas to encourage biodiversity and protecting natural wilderness. Rather more ambitiously, we'd like to create a new culture for the woods of the 21st century, one that involves people being closely connected to the trees and soil, getting their boots dirty by doing, learning, observing and unwinding.
We are working within a 10 year plan approved by the Forestry Commission. Where we can, we use low-impact techniques to keep the wood as rich and wild as possible.