The name comes from a piece of ancient woodland set in the heart of Dorset which is the picture you will see on the wall in the café (below). Hendover Coppice near Batcombe is close to the spot where Tess (from the Thomas Hardy novel) is said to have promised not to tempt Hugh d’Urberville again on the Cross-In-Hand.
My father remortgaged his home and purchased the woodland from the Forestry Commission in approx. 1986 and spent the next 25 years removing around 10,000 Conifers which the Forestry Commission had planted in their wisdom—the Conifer has very little use and sucks the life out of its surroundings leaving it dark and lifeless.
My father’s plan was to clear the woodland of this menace and return it to the natural coppice it once was in ancient times allowing rare species such as the Fly Orchid to flourish once again. He found that no one wanted to come and cut the trees down because the woodland sits on a very steep slope and the timber was of very little commercial value. So he bought a chainsaw and started on the huge task himself with occasional help over the years from various people, but particularly my brother Rob and Simon Pryor, a family friend, but mainly this was one man’s battle to turn a dead wood back to a flourishing ancient coppice.
At the age of 80 he felled his last tree and gifted the woodland to Dorset Wildlife Trust. He now spends his time pursing less energetic hobbies!