The beautiful 18.5 acre Keeds Wood and The Brake was bought by a local couple in 2011, after a community bid came close by raising £100,000 in pledges in 4 days.

The Friends of Keeds Wood run coppicing days monthly each winter from October to March, cutting back hazels and protecting the stools from deer, and have planted some replacement hazels as well. We also monitor wildlife and are watching to detect signs of dormice presence.

Contact Pat Murray: [email protected]

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This poem celebrates land as an unassailable resource, beholden to no human:

On Minchinhampton Common

I am walking,
walking barefoot on the common,
on this warm green ground,
ground that belongs only to itself,
to the four wise winds,
to the treasures it conceals under its
ancient crinkled gown, cow trodden,
unfurling it all along the changing
seasons of the sun,
in subtlest colours of gold, violet
purple and dark blue,
finely stitched and embroidered with
bramble, briar and hawthorn
and spangled with the dew.

This is common ground,
never ploughed,
never dug, since
long forgotton folk
built round houses,
buried their dead,
threw up bulwarks against
and watched the stars,
glimpsed through forest
ages since unseen,
dipping and wheeling
in their round dance
horizon to horizon.
Here I walk on Albion’s ground,
her secret spirit still awake,
in spite of the fog that fetters feeling
and tangles thinking into knots we do not
even notice,
her secret spirit will awake,
still calling through our feet;
and do we hear, do we hear
the quiet insistent voice of the ground,
the common ground that belongs only
to itself?

Jehanne Mehta, 2011

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