History is all around us here in West Swindon and just up the road from Lydiard Park is a survivor from the ancient forest of Braydon.
Back in the day our neck of the woods was the property of the King. The ancient woodland at Braydon had become a royal forest by 1135 and in 1228 enclosed an area of around 46 square miles. While the forest was the playground of the privileged, for the ordinary folk it provided vital resources and the right to common pasture to graze their animals.
In 1270 Robert Tregoze received a royal licence from Henry III to create a deer park at Lydiard but the march of progress had already begun. By 1300 several of the local woods had been disafforested including those owned by John de Clinton and Robert Russell of Lydiard Millicent called ‘Spersolt’ (Sparcell) and William de Grandison’s wood at Lydiard Tregoze.
Thankfully Peatmoor Copse was preserved during the 1980s development of West Swindon and since 1988 the Peatmoor Community Woodland Volunteers have maintained this ecologically important six-acre site. The volunteers meet on the first Sunday of the month (next meeting is June 2) between 10 am – 1 pm, and an extra pair of hands are always welcome.
Meanwhile, photographer and Friend of Lydiard Park, Chris Pocock is beating the bounds of the Lydiard Park estate as it stood at the time of the two great property sales in 1930 and 1943. The Lydiard estate once comprised 3000 acres but by the middle of the twentieth century was already considerably smaller. Chris is using rent rolls, sale details and old and modern maps to create a photographic record of the extent of the former estate.
So, if you see Chris taking photos at the bottom of your drive it means your house is built on land that once belonged to the Lydiard estate, and he doesn’t have any ulterior motives!
The 18th century Lydiard Park Estate
Lydiard Park 1924
The Lydiard Estate and Peatmoor Lagoon and Copse 2000
Peatmoor Community Woodland