History of Ham Woods

This is a mix of history of Ham Woods and other interesting features.,The history of Ham House is relatively well documented but the woods have some hidden secrets of their own.

The Leat

There is a leat running the whole length of the Woods and can be traced from the Box Hill entrance through to Weston Mill. The water was used to power the Mill at Weston Mill. If you are lucky enough to be allowed into the gardens of the cottages at Weston Mill village there is one of the old millstones there. The leat runs on the north side of the stream and can clearly be seen in places, much of it's track is muddy where the leat doesn't drain freely.

The Trees

In the woods, especially around Ham House, you may notice a few trees which are not native. Many of these were planted in the 1800's when visits to Europe were popular and trees were brought back to the Ham Estate.

The Green Lanes

Ham Lane and Weston Mill Lane are great examples of traditional Devon green lanes. These roads have been used for centauries and their hedgerows are rich in a diverse range of plants and animals. Due to their constant use, especially when the roads were not tarmac surfaced, they would tend to get worn down. This can be seen at the top end of Ham Lane where the surface of the lane is substantially below the level of the ground on both sides.

Walls and Hedges

The woodland is cris crossed with dry stone walls and hedges which were the original field and farm boundaries. Many of these walls have ancient trees growing from them.

Bomb Craters

There are numerous bomb craters around the woods, from the bomb maps of Plymouth it's likely that there are also unexploded bombs somewhere in the woods.


Did you know that there is an old quarry in the Woods? It was probably used to build the cottages at Weston Mill or maybe to build the leat.

Ham - Homes for Hope

This link is to a copy of a booklet produced by Plymouth Library Services in 1999 and now out of print. It is a very large file (96Mb) so will take a while to download - it is worth waiting.

Ham - Homes for Hope