Welcome to Sladebank Woods

Sladebank Woods is a lovingly managed wildness close to Stroud town centre, in the heart of a lively neighbourhood. Just under five acres, it supports a wide range of trees, plants and wildlife. It features a small meadow and orchard and anyone is welcome to visit: there’s a public section open all year round where you can simply enjoy being in nature.

We hold regular events, and there are opportunities to help manage this important habitat as a volunteer. If you’d like to hold your own activity here, we offer indoor and outdoor spaces to hire by the hour. Our popular sauna, fuelled using our own wood, is the perfect way to unwind. Please explore our website to find out more.

See the woods at home

You may not be able to visit us at this time, so sit back and enjoy this footage of the woods filmed by drone during the winter.

Aerial filming by Nick Mills (nick.mills@btinternet.com)

Who we are

Meet Martin and Kesty

The woods are owned and managed by Martin and Kesty Jakes, who are passionate about connecting people with nature. They met 30 years ago while working for the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers and bought Sladebank Woods, which is right on their doorstep, in 2000. Martin and Kesty cared for the woods while bringing up their two children, and continue to work towards making Sladebank Woods accessible for as many people as possible, to increase its diversity and create a resilient, sustainable and productive woodland for the future.

Martin and Kesty Jakes in woods in the autumn
"It was so good to spend time in the woods with friends"

Here for everyone

Sladebank Woods is right on the doorstep of our neighbours on Summer Crescent and Langtoft Road. It can be reached by a footpath from Summer Crescent Play Park (The Rec) and also from the wooden stile near the eastern end of Langtoft Road. The woods are here for everyone to enjoy. If you’ve never been in woodland before, we encourage you to take a look, join one of our events or contact us if you have any questions. Please be mindful during your visit of the residential area. Leave only footprints (and pawprints!); take only photographs. Some paths through the woods are rough and sometimes muddy – over the coming months we will be making the lower paths more accessible.

Local boy and mum walking through Sladebank Woods
Trees planted
woodland visitors
Open all year

Inclusive activities for children

Our mixed-ability sessions, Woodland Wonder, are a chance for disabled and non-disabled children to enjoy creative play in the woods, supported by trained Forest School Leaders. These events have been running for a number of years as part of the Of Course We Can programme, which is managed by Active Impact and funded by Gloucestershire County Council. The first sessions for 2021 took place in March, and were adapted to ensure that we are working within current Government guidelines.

We’re also looking forward to welcoming The Shrubberies School and The Apperley Centre, which provide specialist education for pupils who have severe or profound learning difficulties, for six activity days during the summer term.

Find out more about Woodland Wonder in this new video, filmed and produced by Ian Paradine.


Heartscape bunting

Heartscape marks our 20 year anniversary

To help celebrate our 20 years at Sladebank Woods we’ve developed our latest project, Heartscape. We have woven natural threads through the land where friends of Sladebank Woods are invited to hang homemade bunting.

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Geocaching logo

Can you find our geocache?

We are very pleased to now have a geocache hidden within the woods. This is a physical box that can be located by signing up to the online geocache community, downloading the app to your phone and following the clues and the map until you find the hidden box.

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Dom Thomas with oyster mushrooms he grew on a sycamore stump in Sladebank Woods

Exploring Dom’s Mycological Research Station

In these strange times, we thought we’d start with a smile! Here’s Dom Thomas from Stroud’s Fungusloci project proudly showing oyster mushrooms that he grew on a sycamore stump in the woods as part of our Woodland Lab projects. Read on for the full story and to find out what’s happening in the fungi department right now.

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We were really pleased to be able to run a few small events and projects in 2020, including our annual Woodland Wonder sessions which bring together local disabled and non-disabled children. We’re looking forward to hosting more events in spring and summer 2021. The best way to find out about what’s happening is to sign up to our occasional newsletter.

Red Hearth retreat for Women

Red Hearth HouseSince last autumn a new team of women have been dreaming throughout the winter to bring into being The Red Hearth House.  The return of the popular dedicated sanctuary for women will be centred around the newly built roundhouse at Sladebank Woods. Saturday 12 June – Sunday 27 JuneCheck out

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Discover your woods

Get Involved

Sladebank Woods is here for everyone to enjoy and to get close to local nature. Find out how you’d like to get involved.

Soulful Sauna

Our popular sauna, fuelled using our own wood, is the perfect way to unwind. Suitable for individuals and groups of friends.

Venue Hire

The yurt and roundhouse are cosy indoor spaces, while there’s an Education Zone for larger outdoor events plus camping areas.

Thank you

Many local people and organisations support the woods with funding, time, energy, ideas and friendship. We would particulary like to acknowledge the following for their recent input.

Gloucestershire County Council logo
Active Impact logo
Barnwood logo