Betty Daw's Wood, Gloucestershire


Panorama of Stonehenge
Patch of semi-natural woodland filled with thousands of daffodil flowers in the spring; part of the 'Golden Triangle' of wild daffodil colonies, in west Gloucestershire
Forestry Commission
Along an unnamed lane near the M50, 2 miles north of Newent; GL18 1LU
Betty Daw's Wood (also spelt Dawes) is a small patch of ancient woodland in west Gloucestershire, just south of the M50 and 2 miles north of Newent, famed for its displays of wild daffodils in the spring. Named after a previous owner, in Victorian times or earlier, the wood covers 23 acres of gently sloping ground underlain by sedimentary soils from the Raglan Mudstone Formation, and contains mainly beech (planted), mixed with native ash, cherry, silver birch, sessile oak and hazel, together with a few small-leaved lime and wild service trees.

The undergrowth is generally light, enabling the daffodils to cover large areas of the woodland floor, an especially dense and impressive display. Other ancient woodland indicator wildflowers here are wood anemone, bluebell, yellow archangel, sanicle, woodruff, primrose and wood sorrel.

The wood falls within the Golden Triangle, a five mile-wide area where the wild daffodils still flourish, having been lost from many former sites. Other nearby locations include Ketford Bank, and Gwen and Vera's Fields, both Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust nature reserves. Betty Daw's Wood is also part of the Dymock Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest, so-designated on account of the trees, the daffodils, and several rare species of moths and butterflies.

The Wood

Betty Daw's Wood was previously also a GWT nature reserve but is now managed by the Forestry Commission, and is entered from the north at the little village of Four Oaks, along an unnamed lane. The parking space has room for about six vehicles. Paths run around the perimeter, and two cross the centre. Another path heads south, across a field to Greenaway's Wood, also filled with wild daffodils, and on to Gwen and Vera's Fields. The eastern half of Betty Daw's Wood was once known as Colonel's Grove, believed to refer to Colonel Maynard Colchester (died 1715), who was associated with the nearby Oxhill Rectory estate. Now Betty Daw's seems to apply to the whole wood, though prior to the 19th century it was known as Cumming's Grove, in reference to the local Cummings family who were tenants since at least the beginning of the 17th century. Just to the east was a similarly-sized woodland, Wetherlock's Grove, but this was removed in the mid-20th century and is now agricultural land.