The history of Low Scrubs

Low Scrubs trees

For many centuries, perhaps dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, Low Scrubs was part of common woodland where anyone could collect fuel. This usage continued until the Second World War. The National Trust bought Low Scrubs from the Ellesborough Charities in 1985.

For many centuries, perhaps dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, Low Scrubs was part of common woodland where anyone could collect fuel. Under the 1805 Enclosure Act, the present roughly 40 acre area was assigned to Ellesborough Parish for the poor of the parish to collect and take out wood fuel. Individual families were allotted their own compartments of trees. This usage continued until the Second World War. The National Trust bought Low Scrubs from the Ellesborough Charities in 1985.

Old coppice beech in Low Scrubs
Coppice beech in Low Scrubs, Buckinghamshire
Old coppice beech in Low Scrubs

Some beech trees within Low Scrubs were regularly cut down to near ground level (coppiced) and then allowed to grow back. Others had branches lopped off using hooks and axes - saws were not allowed. This regular cutting extended the life of the trees and these may be some of the oldest surviving beech trees in the Chilterns. The National Trust is continuing this regular cutting on a more sensitive scale.

Low Scrubs
Low Scrubs
Low Scrubs


Bundles of firewood and faggots (sticks) were taken out by villagers (often the women) on their backs or using wooden trolleys, much going to homes in Dunsmore, about 1 km away. The regular fuel removal created sunken trackways through the woods, often along the boundaries of the family compartments.

Boundary woodbank in Low Scrubs
Boundary wood bank in Low scrubs, Buckinghamshire
Boundary woodbank in Low Scrubs