Heritage Trail Location 8
The Pinewoods were purchased by the Woodland Trust in recent years as a woodland rescue to prevent its loss due to development and to protect it for the enjoyment of local people and visitors to the town.
It comprises 8.1 hectares of woodland of mainly natural character, although heavily interplanted with exotic species in the mid 19th century.
Originally scrub land in a boggy area in the 1820s, and thus unploughable, the area became incorporated into the grounds of the Victoria Hotel, situated to the east, in the 1860s. The hotel was built by Thomas Hotchkin, as part of the spa grounds which also included a bath house The grounds were laid out with serpentine walks and planted with ornamental trees and avenues of pines, which give the wood its name. After the Victoria Hotel was burned down in 1920, the woodland has gradually reverted to natural scrub.
During the Second World War the woods suffered much damage because of army usage. For 2 years prior to D Day, equipment, ammunition, military vehicles and fuel were stored, here, camouflaged by the sheltering canopy of branches. Soldiers vigilantly patrolled the area at all times.
Today the Woodland Trust has revived many of the former walks, building bridges and markers for trails through the woodland.
The path, at the back of the shops, known as Church Walk, led from the hotel to St. Andrew’s Church which formally stood at the cross roads. This was originally the boundary road between Woodhall and Langton parish on the Pinewood side and Thornton parish on the shop side. The boundary continues along Spa Road to the Manor House in the East and along Witham Road to the west. In 1893 the whole area became part of the new parish of Woodhall Spa.
The Pinewoods are now predominantly broad-leaved. There are oaks, some of which are of advanced age and are important for species such as bats and woodpeckers, which are dependent upon over - mature trees. Old pines can also be seen, although they are gradually succumbing to wind damage and time. Where canopy gaps occur they are being colonised by birch, rowan and oak as the area slowly reverts to its ancient woodland character.
Heritage Trail locations
The trail can be started at any location, but we suggest you also visit the Cottage Museum to see the photographs taken by John Wield during the heyday of the Spa and items associated with this unique Victorian Spa town.
The Trail is just one of several projects in the hands of the Woodhall Spa Parish Council sponsored Heritage Committee. Click here if you are interested in the committee or their projects.
How well do you know Woodhall Spa?
See if you can identify the location of these architectural features and items of street furniture! Or find the Letterbox (coming soon)
Find out more about the Woodhall Spa Conservation Area