From coal mines to conifers, Little Milford has seen it all over the centuries. Now a sanctuary for wildlife and walks, we’re restoring the oak woodland to its former glory.
During the 1900s around three quarters of the original oak was cut down to make way for commercial forestry, but we’re returning the site to its natural state.
Follow the footpath network and circular routes and you’ll see the forest going back to its roots; admire oak punctuated with hazel, birch and holly.
Do some heritage hunting whilst you’re there, the remains of limekilns and former coal workings can be seen from the footpaths.
What's the story behind Little Milford?
The woodland itself is believed to date back to at least the 11th century, with locals throughout the ages making the most of the deciduous trees. The Normans took timber and firewood, and oak was routinely coppiced here until the 1920s.
Coal played an active part in the area too. In its heyday, the bordering village of Hook had a number of small pits extracting anthracite – the last closed in 1959.
Little Milford became a commercial site during this period, with large swathes of the woodland felled and replanted with conifers.
The land and several dwellings were then gifted to the National Trust in 1975 by Mr Harcourt Roberts, the descendant of the estate-owning family who experimented with profitable forestry.
We’ve been managing the conifers and caring for the woodland ever since. In 2012 we harvested most of the conifers and replanted the cleared areas with a mix of broadleaved trees.
Little Milford Farmhouse and Little Milford Lodge are now cared for as National Trust holiday cottages and provide a tranquil holiday retreat in a beautiful estuary and woodland setting.