A History of The Howe

Do you know the history of The Howe? Visitors often ask us how the land came to be owned in trust by the village, so we thought we’d write a quick blog about it!

Firstly, the name – ‘The Howe’ means a ridge, or hog’s back, which is a pretty apt description for the hilly nature of the 26 acres of fields and allotments that make up The Howe. The fields sloping down to the village were awarded to the owner of the Wheatley Manor House, Sir J W S Gardiner, by the Enclosure Commissioners in 1813 as compensation for alleged manorial rights. In fact these rights appear to have elapsed by the mid 16th century, but it’s thought he had some influential connections!

In 1846 Sir Gardiner sold the land to the Shotover estate, and they in turn later exchanged it for Wheatley Common in 1879, when The Howe Trust was set up under the auspices of the Charity Commission to administer the land on behalf of the village. The trust has let the fields as grazing and allotments ever since, and the proceeds have been used to assist local people and organisations.

More recently the trustees have encouraged the land to be used by villagers as a natural green space. There are permissive footpaths through the allotments and across the paddocks, which provide handy short cuts across the village as well as an attractive place for everyone (including responsible dog-owners) to visit to walk, have a picnic or just enjoy the view.

Currently we’re planning a lot of work to help boost the biodiversity on The Howe. Projects include restoring the 500m long native hedgerow along the length of Windmill Lane, planting oak trees and other wildlife-valuable tree varieties, creating an accessible community garden area and digging three large wildlife ponds.

If you’re interested in getting involved we’re always looking for volunteers of all ages and abilities – so we’d love to hear from you.

See you up on The Howe soon!

1200 900 Maggie Fyffe

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