In 1831, the area now known as The Green Gardens was enclosed ‘for the benefit of the poor’ – it having been part of the village green before that date.
In 1903, it was let out as allotments at an annual rent of 3d, the income being spent on coal for the poor of the Parish (by The Poulshot Green Gardens Charity, now closed)
In the intervening years, the demand for allotments fell and the land was let to the Nixon family for grazing.
To prevent the threat of building on the land, Sarah Ireson and Nicholas Hunloke put forward plans to plant a woodland. This came to nothing, until a few years later, when the idea was taken up by Nora Dixon, then Chairman of the Village Trust.
Tree planting projects began in 1977, at first around the Village Green and then in 1985 in a small plantation, on the edge of The Green. In 2003 we planted some 1,200 native trees and shrubs to create a 3½ acre woodland, the Green Gardens Woodland – which has become a popular place for village and private gatherings, and functions.
Peter Cleverly, Secretary of the Village Trust, was the main inspiration for planting trees in the hedgerows, mainly on the east side of the Village.
Big trees in hedges were a traditional feature of the rural scene in Poulshot and served as important habitats for wildlife. It was said that coming down Caen Hill, there were so many trees that it was impossible to see the fields. However, over the last 30 years most have been lost to Dutch Elm Disease and high winds.
The Big Trees Project in 2010 involved the village community, with support of local farmers and landowners, in planting new hedge tree saplings.
Over the last four years, a great many oak, ash, and large-leaved limes have been planted, bringing back the big trees that a generation before made towering green avenues of many lanes and byways in Poulshot.
Aims of the Project
1. To improve the visual quality, scale and character of the rural environment which makes Poulshot such a pleasant place to live and work in.
2. To conserve, protect and enhance our local biodiversity by restoring Poulshot’s traditional big tree habitats and the wildlife they attract.
Poulshot Village Trust received grants from: Wiltshire Council, International Tree Foundation and Melksham Community Area Board.
For further information contact the Project leader, Nicholas Hunloke through the Village Trust Secretary.