Region: South West
Wellesley Woodlands comprise 110 hectares of woodlands, wildlife habitats and lakes interlinked by footpaths and canal-side walks. These former MoD woodlands are divided into two main areas, Dukes Wood to the west and Lake and Canal Side to the east. Separate from these areas, to the south of Thornhill Road, are two smaller woodlands Thorn Hill and Heather Hill (opening soon). This large and easily accessible natural greenspace provides plenty of opportunities to explore, enjoy and share in the rich diversity of the local Wellesley countryside.
Bourley Road, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU11 1QA
Site size: 110 hectares
Duke's Wood has four car parks: ● Fleet Road (for Claycart) GU11 2HL ● Laffan's Road (for Wharf Plantation) GU11 2RE ● Bourley Road (for Rushmoor Bottom) GU11 1QA ● Claycart Road (for Wellington Statue – not 24 hours) GU11 1QA. Lake and Canal Side has one car park: ● Camp Farm Road (for Chalk Farm Lake) GU11 2PE
There are 6 short waymarked trails within Duke’s Wood (including 2 disabled access trails*): ● Chestnut Trail (1.6km - Claycart West) ● Oak Trail (1.1km - Claycart East) ● Beech Trail (1.5km - Rushmoor Bottom North) ● Plane Trail (1.5km - Rushmoor Bottom South) ● Holy Trail* (1km - Wharf Plantation) ● Birch Trail* (1.5km - Wharf Plantation). A seventh trail is located in Lake and Canal Side: ● Sycamore Trail (1.1 km around Chalk Farm Lake). In addition the longer Willow Trail (9.4km) runs from Chalk Farm Lake along the Basingstoke Canal towpath through Duke’s Wood to the Bourley Road Car Park and links to many of the other trails along the way. The maps for these trails can be downloaded in the links below.
Well controlled dogs are welcome in all parts of the woodlands. At Chalk Farm lake dogs must be on a lead on the paths nearest the lake for their own safety as this is a fishing lake.
Picnic areas, waymarked trails, brass rubbings trail, sculptures, Wellington Statue, military heritage features (WWI and WWII firing walls, WWI Inglis Pyramid Bridge, assault course remains and a WWII pillbox), interpretation panels, bird and wildlife watching, orienteering, events programme and volunteering opportunities.
The majority of the woodlands are dominated by Oak, Birch and Beech, with localised areas of other species such as Scots pine, Willow and Alder. Several rides and glades with remnant heath and grassland, and a number of water features, are designated as Sites of Importance to Nature Conservation (SINC). The Basingstoke Canal SSSI with its associated wet flashes runs through or adjacent to much of the site. Stag beetle stumperies, bat boxes and a bat hibernacula have been provided.
The Alexander Observatory, Royal Army Physical Training Corps Museum, Aldershot Military Museum, Farnborough Air Sciences Trust, The Museum of Military Medicine, Alpine Snowsports, Runway's End Outdoor Centre, Basingstoke Canal Centre, Rowhill Nature Reserve, The West End Arts Centre, Princes Hall Theatre, Farnham Castle and Fleet Pond.
History of Aldershot
Aldershot is steeped in history and is famously referred to as the ‘Home of the British Army’. The ‘Aldershot’ name derives from an Anglo-Saxon settlement in the area called ‘Alreshete’, thought to refer to Alder trees found in the locality, indicating the area was wet and boggy.
In the 18th century, the stretch of the London to Winchester turnpike that passed through Aldershot between Bagshot and Farnham (now known as the Farnborough Road) was the scene of highway robberies. Dick Turpin is said to have operated in the area, having his headquarters in nearby Farnborough, and there were sightings of Springheeled Jack.
Aldershot’s transformation from a small village of 875 people in 1851 into a military town of over 16,000 by 1861, occurred as a result of the establishment of a temporary camp and training exercises held around the Chobham area in 1853. The success of these exercises led to a permanent camp for troops of the British Army. Aldershot was selected due to its strategic location midway between London and the great port of Portsmouth.
10,000 acres of the infertile heathland was purchased to the north of Aldershot Village. The new camp was split into North and South Camps, divided by the Basingstoke Canal.
Today Aldershot remains a military town, with the Garrison still at its heart. Several of the remaining Victorian buildings, including the iconic Cambridge Military Hospital, provide a unique record of the development of military history from the 1870s to the present day. They also serve as a poignant reminder to those who have served in the army or are connected to the area.
Wellesley Woodlands lie at the heart of Wellesley, a new housing development on the site of part of the former Army Garrison in Aldershot. The development will comprise 3,850 new homes, as well as the restoration of six listed buildings, two new primary schools, a neighbourhood centre with local shops, play areas, day care facilities, allotments and a recycling centre.
The delivery of Wellesley lies with Grainger plc, with whom the Land Trust works in partnership to develop Wellesley Woodlands and maximise the benefits to local communities and wildlife from this important public greenspace.
The woodlands are a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG), providing an enjoyable natural environment for recreation as an alternative to the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA). The SPA is designated for its ability to provide a habitat for the internationally important bird species of woodlark, nightjar and Dartford warbler.
Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership (BVCP) has been appointed by the Land Trust to manage Wellesley Woodlands on a daily basis.
To contact the Land Trust about this site or how we could help manage your space please email our Estates Manager Steve Crosby .
To enquire about holding an event on a Land Trust site, please click here.
Download Go Wild Challenge Sheet - Birch Trail Download Go Wild Challenge Sheet - Chestnut Trail Download Go Wild Challenge Sheet - Plane Trail Download Go Wild Challenge Sheet - Sycamore Trail Download Orienteering Map 1 - Wellesley Woodlands Download Orienteering Map 2 - Wellesley Woodlands Download Wellesley Woodlands Brass Rubbings Trail Booklet Download Wellesley Woodlands Case Study Download Wellesley Woodlands Chestnut Trail (1 mile/1.6 km) Download Wellesley Woodlands Oak Trail (0.7 mile/1.1 km) Download Wellesley Woodlands Sycamore Trail (0.7 mile/1.1 km) Download Wellesley Woodlands Willow Trail (5.8 miles/9.4 km)
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