SOLD: Ralphs Wood and Summerhouse Plantation £185,500 Freehold


Once part of the historic Lawton Hall Estate, this beautiful ancient semi-natural woodland (ASNW) is surrounded by farmland, woodland and the old Lawton Hall park, complete with a lake.

The southern aspect is bright and sunny and has long views over the lake, now a coarse fishery. From here paths lead into the wood, amongst tall oak, silver/downy birch and lime trees. Broadleaved natural regeneration is underway, with a lively mixed broadleaved understorey replacing bramble, bracken and nettle of old. There are extensive areas of bluebell and ransomes (wild garlic) which put on a show in the spring.

The woodland has a delightful mixed age structure as well as a good selection of different tree species. The last owner has undertaken rhododendron management and has marked trees for felling, under a method known as continuous cover forestry or CCF. This technique, advocated by the late Sir Rodney Helliwell, who wrote a report and made recommendations specifically for this particular woodland, is now widely considered best practice for the restoration of ancient woodland sites as it respects ecological processes and includes soil health, the forest micro climate, associated fungi, flora and fauna as well as the trees themselves.

With attractively varied topography, the wood’s northern boundary is formed by a small river and there are slopes, gullies with seasonal streams and flat areas creating a range of spaces, some ideal for occasional camping.

The purchasers of the woodland will be asked to enter into a covenant


Mature and maturing oak, beech, sycamore, birch, lime, ash and cherry. There is also hawthorn and hazel with regenerating saplings in the understorey.


As you might expect for an ancient semi-natural woodland, the range of wildlife associated with the wood is very wide-ranging. A number of wildlife reports including, mammals, birds, bats, butterflies and moths have been undertaken over the last few years and can be made available to the new owner.

Over 100 different species of bird have been recorded within the wood, a real testament to the biodiversity of this special place. Quite a number of nest boxes have been set up and catching a dawn chorus in the springtime is an immersive experience. Tawny owls are resident year round and their evocative calls can be frequently heard.


  • Mature trees
  • Abundant wildlife
  • Borders a natural river
  • Spaces to camp

Access, tracks and footpaths

Access to the wood is from a road, named The Spinney just off the A34, and via a sound track which passes through Mill Lane Plantation and past the south side of the property. A parking area is located at the side of this track within the wood and from here, the woodland is accessible on foot, with a 4X4 or quad bike.

Two public footpaths pass through the wood, as detailed on the plan along with a couple of additional private routes.

Rights and covenants

The sporting and mineral rights are included with the sale.


This is a great woodland for an active wood manager to continue the restoration work that has been undertaken, providing a ready supply of logs for the fire or timber for woodcraft. Additional timber extraction may be of interest to the purchaser, subject to felling licence approval from the Forestry Commission.

It is also an ideal location for spending time outdoors with family and immersing children in nature, making swings and dens, building dams and fostering a life-long love for the natural world.

Local area and history

The historic parkland surrounding Lawton Hall remains substantially intact and centred on Lawton Hall Pool created in the early 1800s. The property is in divided ownership today but was previously owned by the Lawton family for over 600 years. The Hall has been restored by the Heritage Buildings Trust after a devastating fire had reduced it to a shell.

To the north lies the Rode Hall Estate, a Georgian red-brick manor, housing pottery and paintings, with 10-acre landscaped gardens and a snowdrop walk.

The Trent and Mersey Canal contours around the edge of the old estate, offering extended walks for the woodland owner and added interest. The canal supported the economic boom in the famous Staffordshire pottery districts to the south, including Wedgewood’s factory village of Etruria, connecting these to the cities of Liverpool, Manchester and Hull.

The collection of Church Lawton Barrows, also known as the Church Lawton Complex, is a significant Bronze Age site located in the parish. Two of the three barrows remain.

Wood maps

This wood is now sold, please do not visit the wood without the permission of the owner.

Find this wood

This wood is now sold, please do not visit the wood without the permission of the owner.


  • OS Landranger: OS No. 118
  • Grid ref: SJ 826 560
  • Nearest post code: ST7 3BB
  • GPS coordinates: 53.1004, -2.26272

Location map


Just 9 miles from Stoke-on-Trent, 15 miles from Macclesfield and 35 miles from Manchester.

  • Travelling north from Kidsgrove on the A34 turn left on to the Spinney 1/2 mile after passing the A50.
  • Fork right after 70 metres.
  • Park on the junction of Lawton Coppice Road and The Spinney.
  • Continuing on Foot from here, turn left and proceed to the wooden gate at the end of Lawton Coppice Road. There is a kissing gate and a sign saying Wheelock Angling Society as well as a small 'Woodlands for sale' sign on the gate.
  • Proceed down the track for about 500 metres until you have passed the lake on the left.
  • Ralphs Wood and Summerhouse Plantation is located to the right of the track and can be accessed close to the Woodlands for Sale sign.

How we support our buyers

Membership of the small woodland owners’ group

£300 for a woodland course of your choice

One year's free membership of the royal forestry society

Our regional managers are often out working in our woodlands, so if you email an offer and want to be sure it has been received, please phone our manager on their mobile phone. The first offer at the stated price which is accepted, whether by phone or email, has priority.

Please take care when viewing as the great outdoors can contain unexpected hazards and woodlands are no exception. You should exercise common sense and caution, such as wearing appropriate footwear and avoiding visiting during high winds.

These particulars are for guidance only and, though believed to be correct, do not form part of any contract.

An opportunity to own a beautiful, ancient broadleaved semi-natural woodland with river frontage, in a sought after rural Staffordshire/Cheshire location, with great access and full of wildlife.

Managed by Dan Watson

Telephone: 07970 116 515

Email: [email protected]