Burton Fishpond Plantation

The wood on the east side of Towles Fields was purchased in 2004 as an amenity for the villagers to enjoy. The cost was met by donations from residents (£13,000) and grants from Charnwood Borough Council (£5,000) and Leicestershire County Council (£10,000).

The Plantation is managed by a committee of the Parish Council consisting of parish councillors and local residents and it is maintained by volunteers and Friends of Burton Plantation.

A volunteer Sunday is held on the first Sunday of the month between October and April. Please come along and lend a hand.

For more information, please contact Lyn on 01509 889700 or subscribe to the newsletter by e-mailing lyn_cooper@hotmail.com

New volunteers are always welcome, tools and training are provided; no previous experience is necessary and there are tasks for all ages and abilities. Meet at the Pavilion at 10am. We are grateful for any help that you can offer, even for just an hour.

A huge thank you to all of the wonderful Plantation volunteers who have worked so hard over the year to keep this beautiful woodland in shape.

If you are interested in purchasing logs please contact the parish clerk.

Plantation Newsletter

Plantation Newsletter

3rd December 2018

This last month has been a busy one in the Plantation, with visits from outside groups as well as two of our own volunteer sessions.

On 9th November Brooksby College brought a group of 16 students and 2 adults who tackled snowberry, brambles, ivy, and young sycamore and ash trees. A few of the more experienced students also removed low branches of existing sycamores to let more light in. They are fully booked for practical sessions for the rest of this academic year but plan to include visits to our Plantation in their 2019/20 programme.

We have also welcomed a group from The Carpenter's Arms at Six Hills on two occasions. Their first contribution was to clear the verges round the car park, improving the general look of the area with a job we simply haven't got round to. They also cleared the debris from one of the ponds, creating a new log pile with logs which had fallen in. This was in the nick of time as the recent wet weather has seen the ponds turning to mud or back into ponds, as they do every winter. The Carpenter's Arms group have offered to make regular fortnightly visits to work in the Plantation and Playing Fields and we are already planning how best to use their help.

After a good turnout at our previous Sunday volunteer session, the November Thursday session (16th) saw us back to the stalwart handful. However, we still managed to burn the big piles of snowberry and blackthorn which had built up after the volunteer sessions in the Plantation and Playing Field, and the Brooksby and Carpenter's Arms visits, as well as continuing with monitoring, cleaning and repairing the bird boxes, so a useful session.

The final volunteer session of 2018, yesterday, was again well-attended. As we hoped, the huge pile of wood by the car park had been converted to a huge pile of chippings so most of the morning was spent spreading them along the paths. However, we also found time to do a variety of other jobs – finishing the bird boxes, litter picking, removing lamia, and removing low-hanging branches where the brash is piled, not to mention the key role of having the cuppa ready at half time. I for one was ready for a breather and Thomas's gingerbread men and Pam's mince pies were very welcome.

So that's it for the newsletter for another year. While we may have further visits from the Carpenters this month, we find our volunteers are generally too busy for a Thursday session this time of year, so our next Volunteer session will be Sunday January 6th.

It just remains for me to thank you for your support, whatever form it takes, and to wish you a Merry Festive season and a Happy New Year.

Lyn Cooper

Plantation Volunteer Co-ordinator

Newsletter archive

Plantation Newsletter

9th April 2018

The last newsletter for a while. Whatever the weather is doing, and it was cold and damp again for the volunteer session yesterday morning, as far as nature is concerned, summer is just around the corner and the wildlife needs to be left in peace for the next few months without people crashing about in the undergrowth and disturbing the ground and them.

This April volunteer session, then, was our last full session for the season and so a bit of a mad rush to get everything done before we stop. Ten volunteers were split between putting up the last of the bird and bat boxes, sowing wildflower and grass seed and planting wildflowers and shrubs.

For those who are interested in more detail, five honeysuckles were planted, spread around the site, with the labelled one near the story circle so that the children can see what it is. Five guelder roses are mostly along the path parallel to the tennis courts, with one in the left hand corner at the Charnwood end and another planted near the Eaton oak, ably assisted by, and in a position chosen by, two very small members of the public who were out for a walk with their Mum.

The fifty primroses are mostly along the banks near the bridges and at the Charnwood end and the hundred wild garlic (ramsons) 'in the green' are spread around the damper areas near the ponds. Twenty-five each of Foxglove, Greater Stitchwort, Betony and Hairy St John's Wort are spread around the woodland in locations too numerous to mention, but carefully chosen to suit the plants' needs.

A grass mix was sown in the glade area near the Eaton oak to take advantage of the higher light levels and over the area at the Charnwood end where the wildflower mix from last year has taken off well but the grasses haven't. Hedgerow wildflower seeds left over from last Autumn were scattered under the hedgerows.

We have recorded their positions and will be monitoring them over the summer to see what thrives and where so that we can hopefully do more planting in the autumn and next spring. If you spot something new and interesting coming up or perhaps a young plant that could do with a drop of water, please let us know. I've attached a copy of the planting sheet we used so you can see what they will look like and where they are likely to be.

We will meet again on 3rd June to do any basic maintenance on the paths and cut back the overhanging vegetation, but apart from that, that's it until the autumn.

Once again, our thanks to everyone who contributes to the Plantation either by donating (your donations paid for the plants) or just by being supportive. It's really encouraging when members of the public stop on their walk and ask us what we are doing and why. The biggest thanks, though, must go to the volunteers who have turned out this season despite some pretty awful weather and not only maintained the Plantation but worked to improve it in the long term, and to those who kept us going with hot drinks.

We will be having a stand at the village fete and hope you will call in and find out about plans for the Plantation for the autumn and how you and your family could help look after this lovely community woodland. We will be running a making a bird box activity also sponsored by East Midlands Airport – a bit late for this year's nesting birds, but in plenty of time to install them in the woodland and our other wild areas around the village in the autumn, ready for spring 2019.

Lyn Cooper

Plantation Volunteer Co-ordinator

3rd April 2018

Dear All,

I hope you enjoyed the Easter weekend despite the rain – what a Spring it has been so far!

A reminder that the last Plantation volunteer session for a while will be this next Sunday, 8th April, when we will be aiming to expand the flora in the Plantation by planting and sowing a range of wild flowers and grasses alongside the general tidying up and maintenance before we leave the Plantation to the nesting birds for the summer.

We are planning also to increase the diversity and coverage of the shrub layer too, but we are awaiting expert advice on this so that will be a task for the autumn.

Sadly, the difficult weather conditions which I reported on last month continued through March, limiting the amount we have been able to do and, understandably, also limiting the numbers of volunteers who joined us. To be honest, there was at least one of the sessions where I might have stayed home in the warm if I hadn't been committed to leading the session, so a big thank you to those who did make it.

When we arrived for the mid March Thursday morning session(15th) it was so wet that we considered abandoning the session, but the half a dozen of us there decided to give it an hour and see how it went. Fortunately the rain eased and although it was still cold and damp, we completed most of the morning, planting the last of the small trees and bushes, dealing with a fallen tree and clearing brambles along the path parallel to the tennis courts.

Moving the snowdrops, which was planned for that morning, was not possible so we pushed in an extra session on 23rd just for that job and four of us took small amounts from some of the larger clumps and moved them to colonise new areas or to encourage them to expand more quickly in their current areas. We were again supported by one of our our always-appreciated refreshment volunteers. (I'm told some people only come for the chocolate biscuits!)

There will be the usual Sunday morning session in June (3rd) when we clear the paths of overhanging foliage, but this April session is the last one this season when we can work away from the paths, so the more volunteers the better.

Hope to see you there.

Best Wishes Lyn Cooper – Volunteer Co-ordinator

Plantation Newsletter 5th February 2018

What a soggy month!

The heavy and continuous rain has taken its toll of the footpaths in the Plantation, with the well-used path on the school side particularly badly-affected. Although this is an annual problem, it seems to have been worse this year.

Also, sadly, we have not had the support from Brooksby this year so with less felling there has been less brash and therefore less chippings available. We understand that changes in personnel at Brooksby have led to this change and hope to be able to re-form the relationship in time for next season as it did seem mutually beneficial. Fortunately Martin, who has been providing the professional tree care support for the Plantation, has shredded the brash we had collected and also provided us with several loads of chippings from his other work. In an ideal World we would not use chippings from conifers as they are acidic and long term use could potentially affect the PH of the area around the paths. However, we felt the need for chippings was the most important thing.

Spreading the chippings has taken place over two sessions. The first was an extra task-specific session on 23rd January when a group of 10 or so spread some heavy-weight chippings on the worst-affected areas. The weather has been such that many of these were already disappearing into the ground when ten of us arrived for the volunteer morning on 4th February. Given that there was a large pile of chippings awaiting, that became the focus of the morning for most of the group. What became known as the 'Yellow Brick Road' gradually extended throughout the morning until we ran out of chippings again.

Meanwhile, the annual 'deep litter pick' was carried out, collecting rubbish which had been blown, thrown or carried into those areas which are just about accessible now but won't be when all the vegetation gets going again. Another small group continued their project to tidy the area near the long pond which has been left pretty much to its own devices for some years.

Given the weather even the day before and that forecast for the rest of the week I think we were very fortunate to have a bright, sunny, if chilly morning to work in. As ever, thanks to all the volunteers who came along and put in a lot of hard work.

Next session, Thursday 22nd February, when we hope to catch up with some of the jobs that had to be left in favour of chippings.

Hope to see you there

Plantation Newsletter 8th January 2018

Suddenly here we are in 2018 and a New Year begins.

Our first volunteer morning yesterday was VERY cold! As I left home to open up it was showing as -1 degree C, and I don't think it warmed up much until late morning. However, it was a bright, sunny morning and a lot better to be out in than the recent damp and gloomy weather.

Fourteen hardy volunteers in all split into groups on different tasks.

Following the storm last week there was clearing up to do, with brash being carried to the entrance for chipping and a fallen tree across the path, which was cut up and removed. Apart from that and a couple of bird/bat boxes falling, the woodland seems to have coped very well with the high winds. It seems we continue to feel the benefit of the work done by Brooksby students to remove the dead and dying, and therefore vulnerable, trees.

As ever, there was quite a lot of litter around the car park to deal with, but in the Plantation itself there was very little, which is encouraging.

New and repaired bird boxes were put up and those which came down in the wind collected for repair or disposal.

Attempts to tackle the lamia at the Springfield end were not going well. It seems the plant structure is difficult to follow at this time of year, with the foliage breaking away too easily to be traced through to the underground root runs, which are what we need to remove to limit regrowth. So I think that project will have to be left until the new spring growth begins. Hopefully before the nettles get into full swing!

The snowberry, however, has a more sturdy structure which makes it physically harder to dig out but easier to identify and follow underground, so more work was done on this; this time at the Charnwood end near the bench.

After all the recent rain, the paths are in need of a new layer of chippings when we can get some. We are aiming to get the pile of brash by the entrance chipped as soon as possible and it looks as if we will also be able to get more chippings from the contractor who does our professional tree work.

With the next Volunteer Session not until 4th February it may be that we'll squeeze in a chipping-spreading session before then. If so, I'll let you know.

Failing that, we hope to see you on 4th February.

Plantation Newsletter 4th December 2017

Again this month, two sessions to report on.

The first one, on 16th November, fell awkwardly for several of our regular volunteers, with the result that only two people were able to be there. However, they were two of our most experienced volunteers and they managed to get most of the remaining bird boxes ready for the winter. They also put together the new storage unit for the 'garage' where our equipment is stored. This was something of a marathon job as I understand it, but it will make a real difference. We should now be able to access all the equipment without things falling out as soon as you open the door or it being a wrestle to get it all back in at the end of the session.

The second session, on 3rd December, couldn't have been more different for numbers with pretty much a full turnout of regulars and two very welcome newcomers, who turned up despite having only recently moved into the village - Fifteen of us in all, including our much-appreciated but seldom-mentioned refreshment ladies. On a cold, damp morning your hot drinks and hot mince pies were very welcome.

As planned, we had a major push to dig out snowberry in two large areas in the middle of the woodland, one near the tennis court and the other level with the private end of the car park. The soil was mostly quite soft, any snowdrop or bluebell bulbs that came out with the roots could be easily replanted and most other plants had died down enough not to be damaged by our feet, so ideal conditions for this task.

We believe that this non-native bush was introduced to the Plantation to provide cover for game birds when it was part of the pleasure grounds of Burton Hall. Unfortunately it is very invasive, spreading under the soil through running roots and also through seeds from the white autumn berries which give it its name. It smothers and out-performs the native woodland species which we are trying to encourage so it has to go.

Anyone who has tried to remove this from their garden will know that it involves a lot of heavy digging and to really get on top of it we will have to come back to this repeatedly, gradually weakening and removing it, but in this session we had a really good first go at these areas which haven't been touched for a while, and where the snowberry was spreading over a wide area.

One problem with this plant is that by the time we can work on an area without damaging other plants, snowberry can be quite difficult to identify. In winter, one twiggy bush can look very much like any other. Fortunately the identifying leaves had not dropped by the time Sunday came, so we soon got our eye in and cleared a huge pile. At the same time we piled up the logs and brash into wildlife-friendly log piles, so altogether a very productive session to end the year.

Finally, our thanks to Angela Finch. Angela has been a valued member of the Plantation Management Committee throughout her time on the Parish Council, also becoming a regular volunteer. She is leaving Burton to live near her family in London and we wish her well in her new home. We will miss her.

Very Best Wishes for a great Christmas and New Year for those who are celebrating these, for a relaxing winter break for those who are not and if you've overdone the calories, what better way to work them off than to join us at the first Volunteer session of 2018 on 7th January?


Lyn Cooper, Volunteer Co-ordinator

Plantation Newsletter, 6th November 2017

Two sessions to report on this month.

Firstly we met on 12th October. This was the first of our mid-week sessions and we were pleased to welcome a new volunteer to add to nine regulars on a mild and dry morning.

One group got started on cleaning, assessing and repairing the bird boxes. They were particularly interested in the owl box. This needed moving to a position which gives the owls a clear flight path to the entrance, so they are moving it to the field side of the Plantation at the Charnwood end. When they took it down they found it needed repair but also, interestingly, had several empty eggs inside. Tawny looks most likely to me, but our interest in the eggs was suddenly halted when Pam, our refreshment volunteer for the day, took a tumble and landed head first on the concrete by the Pavilion. She had a nasty cut with several stitches needed and an impressive black eye but I'm very pleased to say that, after hospital treatment, she has recovered well. You had us all really worried there, Pam!

With Pam in good hands, we returned to work.

A second group was weeding and planting. At the Charnwood end we planted wild daffodils by the bench and wild primroses in the sown area. At the Springfield entrance we planted more wild daffodils and primroses as well as wild garlic before sowing a hedgerow meadow mix of seeds in the cleared area. A small area near the pavilion entrance, which we had previously cleared of lamia, was showing signs of regrowth so we cleared that and sowed more of the seed there. There are still seeds left but they will need to be left until after the winter now.

A third group tackled snowberry, always an issue in the Plantation, but conditions were ideal for removing it and this group made a lot of progress too.

Altogether a useful morning, apart, of course, for Pam's accident.

The second session was 5th November, the monthly first Sunday. It was a glorious fresh, sunny autumn morning and Pam was back with us, looking remarkably good in the circumstances.

The bird box group installed the repaired owl box in its new location and checked and cleaned out more than half of the others, so the next session should see that task complete and the boxes ready for roosting over the winter and for nesting in the Spring.

The snowberry group continued and others cleared brash which had accumulated over

the summer.

The last group were clearing unwanted seedling trees, concentrating on the glade area near the Eaton oak and on sycamore seedlings around the woodland. The wet summer has left the soil soft and ideal for tasks like this and we hope to make the most of this opportunity.

A productive start to the season.

Lyn Cooper - Plantation Volunteer Co-ordinator

Plantation Newsletter 2nd October 2017

Despite all the, reasonable, concern about the weather forecast, in the end we had no problems with the weather on Sunday morning. It wasn't the sunniest of mornings and it was damp but it wasn't wet and was at least warm and without the heavy rain and high winds which had been forecast earlier in the week.

The main focus of the morning was moving logs to the pavilion entrance for the log sale at lunchtime. Most of the nearest logs had already been sold so those left were the piles near the ponds and Springfield end. A lot of hard work was needed to get them all moved, but by the end of the morning the surplus logs had been cleared from the woodland, so well done the five determined volunteers who did the barrowing and I hope the backs etc are not too sore this morning.

We are still a bit short on barrows, something which is to be remedied as soon as the roof over the equipment shed has been fixed later this month. We will be buying two more; one with the donations in memory of Terry Smith and one from general funds, which should set us up well for the future.

The log sale was already in progress by the time we had packed everything away and I am told that £60 was donated: worth doing but disappointing compared to other sales. There are still logs left and they can be collected, by appointment, at any of our volunteer mornings. To arrange this, please ring Anthony Wilson on 01509 880094 or email anthonycwilson53@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, another group of five set to and cleared quite an area of nettles on the school side of the Springfield entrance. We removed a lot of sweet and chocolate wrappers as well as several loads of nettles. I can still feel the stinging! We also tried to remove as much as possible of the lamia in that area. Not so long ago it was limited to the opposite side of the path but it has clearly enjoyed the conditions this summer and spread. It just shows how much of a problem can be created by one thoughtless act – someone dumping their garden rubbish at the entrance to the Plantation, probably many years ago. On a brighter note, the two small oak trees on that side seem to be well and should enjoy having a bit more space around their trunks.

We will leave that area now until the next volunteer morning on Thursday 12thOctober, whenwe will go over it again to remove anything that has regrown. Then there's the fun of planting and sowing while the ground is still warm enough. Watch this space!

Lyn Cooper – Volunteer co-ordinator

Plantation News, 7th June 2017

We were lucky with the weather last Sunday morning, falling as it did immediately before some pretty awful weather for June. From a quick walk round the Plantation earlier today, it looks as if there has been remarkably little damage given the strength of the winds. Lots of leaves and twigs on the ground but the trees themselves seem to have survived despite the extra weight of a full set of leaves. Perhaps we are now reaping the benefit of removing so many of the dead and diseased trees, which were always the ones most likely to fall.

Usually, at this time of year, the main job is to clear the cow parsley, brambles and other vegetation which has grown or fallen across the paths. It wasn't as bad this year, and a combination of new equipment and our volunteers having an efficient routine for this, meant that we were able to do quite a lot of other work too.

Another key task was to check the many trees and shrubs which have been planted since September to make sure they are not overcrowded by other vegetation and have enough water. The good soak they have had over the last few days, should also help see them over the summer.

The wildflower seeds sowed at the Charnwood end in April are germinating nicely and after a good weeding should now have the space to thrive. We only used about half of the seeds so we can re-sow there if necessary in the Autumn, and if not, use the remaining seed elsewhere in the wood.

I have been asked about the composition of the seed mix so that people know what to look for as the area develops, so I have attached an identification sheet, showing what was included in this particular mix. Do let us know if you spot any of them, though many will not flower in their first year.

There was a limited response to the log sale, as we rather expected, but some logs were cleared and a donation towards the funds collected.

Some snowberry was removed but, to minimise disturbance to the wildlife, we kept to the areas near paths, which meant that the lamium (yellow archangel) was easier to get to and clear. This invasive garden plant has grown back into areas we cleared previously and our aim is to stop it from spreading further into the Plantation.

Plans for tackling this and the snowberry will be considered at what has now become an annual site visit, this time on 10th July. The aim of this site visit is to review progress on last year's plan, update the long-term planting plan and decide on priorities and projects for the 2017-8 season, both for our volunteers and for those from outside, such as Brooksby and Santander, who will, we hope, be offering to help again.

If you have any thoughts or ideas on how the Plantation could be improved or developed, then please let us know before 10th July so we can consider them. All ideas welcome.

The tools have all been cleaned, assessed, listed and put away for the summer, and it only remains for me to thank everyone for everything you have done to support the Plantation again this year, wish you a happy summer and look forward to seeing everyone again in October.

Lyn Cooper – Volunteer co-ordinator

Plantation Volunteer morning, Sunday 4th June 10 to 12.30

As usual at this time of year, the main task of the morning will be clearing the vegetation which is growing across the paths. It's not too bad at the moment, but after another ten days' growth it will need doing. We also need to check on the trees and shrubs we have planted this year and make sure they are not dry or overcrowded by other vegetation. Then there's the lamia which is growing apace and will spread even more if it isn't contained.

There are signs that the wildflower seeds at the Charnwood end are germinating, though I suspect we will need to repeat sow in the Autumn. A bit of maintenance there to remove the crop seedlings and the 'fence' will be needed too. A nice light job for the less energetic?

More of a workout will be barrowing logs to the Pavilion entrance – again.

As you know, we try to keep a percentage of the felled wood as habitat piles for the local wildlife, but following the winter work we still have more on the ground than we need.

Lyn Cooper – Volunteer co-ordinator

Plantation News, 3rd April 2017

The weather was beautiful on Sunday morning as we gathered for the last Sunday morning volunteer session of the season before we leave the Plantation to the wildlife for the Summer.

Most of the volunteers spread chippings and gathered logs for the log sale which followed and which raised a very useful £130 for the funds for the maintenance of the Plantation.

A group of three prepared the area in front of the bench at the Charnwood end and sowed a woodland wildflower mix, which will hopefully give a good show of flowers later in the year.

Two more prepared the refreshments, so with thirteen of us in all it was a decent turnout to finish off the season. As always, there was a lot more we could have done with more volunteers, so if you haven't managed to join us over the winter, please join us next season if you can.

In the meantime, we will be meeting on 4th June (please note the change of date from 11th) to do a few maintenance jobs which can be done from the paths.

Until then there will be plenty to enjoy in the Plantation as the celandines and violets give way to the bluebells, and the birds sing their hearts out as the trees burst into leaf.

Happy Spring!

Lyn Cooper – Volunteer co-ordinator

The Plantation round the year

Plantation Management Committee

For details about the Parish Council's Plantation Management Committee, including committee members and meeting dates, please see the Committee page of this website.

Friends of Burton Plantation

Becoming a Friend of Burton Plantation is a way to your show support for the plantation. The plantation relies on the support of volunteers and the funding raised from Friends of Burton Plantation goes directly on the maintenance of this valuable asset.

Much of the work in the plantation is carried out by volunteers, your donation will support this work through items including the purchasing of tools for use by the volunteers and the cost of hiring a chipper.

If you enjoy using our beautiful woodland and would like to support this important community asset you can become a Friend of Burton Plantation by contacting the clerk to the Parish Council.

Thank you in anticipation of your support.

Plantation Photo Gallery

Archive news, volunteer days and events at the Plantation


The Fishpond Plantation supports a large range of species of plants, fungi, invertebrates, amphibians, birds and mammals. Over the past 10 years a number of groups have carried out various surveys to identify the full range. The Wildlife Trust and the Botanical Survey of Britain and Ireland being the two main contributory agencies. Many of these results have been published on Leicestershire's Nature Spot http://www.naturespot.org.uk Nature Spot allows members of the public to record what they see. It is easy to register and add what you have identified to Burton's species list.

Plantation Trees and Kretzschmaria deusta

Plantation History

The History of Fishpond Plantation

At a first glance the Plantation looks like quite a young wood with lots of thin spindly sycamore trees. Closer inspection reveals that its history must go back many centuries. The thick carpets of snowdrops and bluebells in the spring indicate a long established woodland. There is much to be discovered about the history of Fishpond Plantation and several theories abound.

The accompanying map shows that in 195 4the woodland was considerably bigger than its present 3.96 acres. Prior to the building of Burton Hall it may have covered an even larger area. One assumption had been that the name Fishpond Plantation related back to medieval times. The fishponds themselves are difficult to date. They were obviously there before the trees, hence the name of the plantation, but they have been inspected by two of the County archaeologists and neither believed them to be medieval.

It has been noted that the ground in the wood is very disturbed and irregular and shows no signs of early cultivation such as ridge and furrow. A look at a geological map gives a clue. The East Midlands has long been known for its deposits of Gypsum (CaSO4·2H2O) Old disused 'plaster pits' are a common feature locally where gypsum deposits are found close to the surface in the glacial clay known as Keuper Marl. It is likely that the ponds were created from disused mine workings. A fine granular variety of gypsum called alabaster was greatly sought after up to the 18th century. Parts of Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire were well known for alabaster carvings for local market and export. Perhaps Burton on the Wolds was one of the suppliers for this industry. Certainly after mining had taken place the land would be unsuitable for agricultural use. Adding weight to this theory the geological survey of 1900 marks the fishpond area as "clay pits".

The ponds themselves were probably constructed in the 18th Century by the Mason family who lived at what is now Manor Farm and owned the Burton Estate prior to the building of Burton Hall. The ponds would have supplied fish for the house and also ice. The remains of the ice house can still be seen in the garden of 41 Barrow Rd alongside the footpath that runs from Barrow Road to Springfield Close. Leaving speculation aside, the more recent history is easier to prove. Ann Mason's grandson, John Noon, built Burton Hall towards the end of the 18th century. John left the estate to Charles Godfrey Mundy who transformed the modest country house into a modern "mansion" in 1824.

Charles also laid out the gardens and plantations (the Packes were renowned for their woodlands so it may have been a case of trying to keep up with his somewhat richer neighbours). He probably had areas cleared, planted more trees (mixed woodland including conifers) created paths and maybe even had the long shallow pond dug as a feature. Charles was forced to put the estate up for sale in 1834. He said at that time that the Fishpond Plantation was ten years old. (so 2014 was actually the Plantation's 190th birthday!)

The Estate was bought by the Somerset family in 1838. The Somersets were great sportsmen so it may have been during their ownership that the woodland was planted with the snowberry as cover for game. The Somersets sold the estate to the Earl and Countess of Huntingdon in 1920

The south end of the plantation was felled during World War II because it was in line with the north-south runway of Wymeswold Airfield. An aerial photograph of 1945 shows this quite clearly. As you explore the wood, you can spot the large conifer tree stumps remaining from this time. During the war there were military huts close to the area of the present car park and it was to serve these that drains were installed that run through the wood.

The Countess put the estate on the market in the spring of 1954. When the estate was dispersed some of the cottages went to sitting tenants and the Plantation was bought by Mr W.V. Harlow of Harlow Brothers, timber merchants of Long Whatton, for £1,250.

A large part of the plantation was lost in the 1960s when it was cleared for houses and a new village school. The cottage shown on the map (in lot 3) still remains as number 23 Barrow Rd.

In 2004 the Plantation was bought by Burton on the Wolds, Cotes and Prestwold Parish Council on behalf of the village with villagers' donations and grants from Shires and Charnwood Borough Council for £26,100.

It is now managed by a sub-committee of the Parish Council. Residents are encouraged to participate by becoming Friends of Burton Plantation, helping raise funds to maintain the wood and volunteering with maintenance tasks in the winter months.

The management plan for the wood lists the following objectives:

  • maintain and enhance wildlife habitats
  • encourage public access
  • provide interpretive material for educational purposes.

External recognition of our progress in these aims is demonstrated by

a) designation of the woodland as a Wildlife Site by the Borough Council and Leicestershire Wildlife Trust

b) receiving the Michael Brayshaw Biodiversity Conservation Award in 2007

Much of the woodland comprises of self-sown sycamore with an under story of snowberry at the western end becoming a denser shrub layer to the north east. There is a succession of woodland flowers including snowdrops, celandines, violets, wood anemones, bluebells, red campion and cow parsley. To date, surveys of flora show over 60 species. More than 30 species of birds have been observed. The Plantation is also known to be the home for amphibians including the Great Crested Newt.

Cath Thomson

Heritage Warden August 2014

If you have information to share or would like to become involved in discovering more about the local history and the natural history of Burton on the Wolds the Heritage Warden would love to hear from you.

Contact Cath Thomson email cathomson50@hotmail.com or phone 07887996293