Milton Road, Deddington

Daeda's Wood is the first of 200 Woods on Your Doorstep in England and Wales: a Woodland Trust millennium project supported by the Millennium Commission among others (Daeda was a Saxon who lived in about the 10th century; the name Deddington derives from Daeda and "tun" meaning settlement). The nine-acre arable field was bought by the Woodland Trust, assisted by substantial contributions from local residents, many of whom helped plant the 3,500 trees in November 1996 and, later, sow the seeds for a wild flower meadow.


The contorted northern boundary is formed by the River Swere, so the trees planted had to be suitable for a sometimes wet terrain: ash, five species of willow, oak, alder, grey and black poplar, aspen, downy birch, osier, hawthorn, blackthorn and guelder rose.

A stretch of path gives wheelchair access and there are two seats. However, Daeda's Wood will be allowed to develop as naturally as possible: so expect to see grass and rank vegetation left to provide habitats for insects and birds. When the trees are mature enough to create a canopy this will change the habitats again. Several grass rides wind through the site.

The variety of wild flowers will increase and change as the wood develops. From spring you can expect clumps of white campion, pink threads of delicate ragged robin, the bold ox-eye daisy; later, lovely mauve clusters of meadow cranesbill, purple knapweed, the scarlet splash of poppies, and waving banks of rosebay willowherb. Later still there will be the handsome rose-pink musk mallow, white or pink flowerheads of yarrow, and large white heads of angelica. Purple loosestrife will add their bright spikes to the Swere's banks, and water lilies drift in the stream itself.

The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Naturalists' Trust (BBONT) chose the Swere's banks as one of their sites for an otters' holt. Sections of the river banks are also home to the unusual beautiful and banded demoiselle damselflies. There is already a wide variety of birds. In winter sizeable flocks of visiting fieldfare settle noisily in the mature trees, or on the surrounding fields. Along the river you may see the brilliant flash of a kingfisher, the flurry of mallard or moorhen, or a heron at lift-off. Flocks of yellowhammer are ever present; often tree sparrows or groups of long-tailed tits flit through the trees. Usually there's a kestrel on the hunt, possibly a great spotted woodpecker. As the trees grow there should be increasing summer populations of warbler - willow warbler, chiffchaff, blackcap, garden warbler. And, who knows, perhaps one day a nightingale.

More about Daeda's Wood and Deddington Flora & Fauna can be found HERE 

A Diary of Daeda's Wood  was published in 2006 to mark its 10th anniversary. It describes the highlights of each year, with features on Daeda's flowers, butterflies, animals, birds and river, and plans for the future.