History and Background
Birchanger wood lies on the north-east edge of Bishop's Stortford, between the town and the village of Birchanger, on the border between Hertfordshire and Essex.
It is an ancient wood, rich in wildlife, now of 69 acres but formerly much larger, being part of a manor bestowed by William the Conqueror on St. Valery's Priory. Subsequently reclaimed by the monarchy, the wood was granted to William of Wykham, with much other land. William of Wykham became Chancellor to Edward 3rd in 1367, and in 1380 he founded New College, Oxford, and Birchanger Wood was among the lands with which New College was endowed. The wood remained in the possession of New College until the latter part of the 19th century, when it was sold to several individuals. The local councils have bought the wood in recent years to hold it in perpetuity for the public benefit.
Ownership and Management
Having bought the wood from three private owners, ownership has been transferred to the Birchanger Wood Trust, a charitable trust created exclusively to hold the wood for the public good, and to manage it appropriately in accordance with a management plan drawn up by professional ecologists.