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Forest of Dean


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19 March 2024

Clanna Woods and Lake

Grid Ref SO 583 022


We go to Clanna Woods every year as the invasive Laurel is always re-growing with little wildlife around it. The leaves of the Prunus laurocerasus (also known as the cherry laurel or English laurel) contain two components (cyanogenic glycosides and cyanide ions) that, separately, won't harm you. But if a human was to take a hedge cutter to them - they produce cyanide gas! The cyanide gas gradually breaks down after the Laurel is cut with loppers.


The density of the Laurel can be seen behind the large trees in this image.

History of Clanna Woods and Lake

The Clanna Woods estate combined industrial use and ornamentation. Although there was a park here since the late 16th century, the ornamentation of Cone Brook and the woodlands really began in the early 19th century. The lake and some landscaping was carried out between 1813 and 1830. Between 1884 and 1919, the woods were further ornamented with extensive planting, additional water features, a new walled garden and an elaborate Old English garden within the earlier walled garden. Later in the 19th century further estate buildings were added around Clanna, but the mansion itself was demolished in the early 1950s. The estate was acquired by the Forestry Commission in 1956 and a programme of felling and planting was instigated

We stacked the branches into enormous heaps to rot down.