Looking for advice on an indistinct nature walk

Before I go for an appeal or re-submission, I was wondering if anyone could help me tidy up this nomination that’s just been rejected. I’m leaning gently towards resubmission as I think I can do a better job with the primary photo.

But first - here’s the nomination for reference:

Title: Boxhill Wood Nature Walk Sign

Rejection Criteria: Temporary/Seasonal or Not Distinct

A sign marking the Nature Walk running through Boxhill Wood, an area that has stood largely unchanged for over a century as the town of Abingdon expanded around it. The primary paved route of the trail connects The Motte to Boxhill Road, with several natural paths forking off to enable quiet exploration of the secluded woods.

Supplemental information:
This sign provides the most obvious way to discover a local hidden gem - a trail in a quiet area of riverside woodland tucked away inside the town of Abingdon. The primary routes around it are well maintained and fully paved, with additional tracks offering options to explore the secluded natural woodland. This woodland was originally part of the FitzHarris estate, purchased by the UK government in 1946 as a suitable site to build houses for the then-new Atomic Energy Establishment at Harwell. The oldest maps detailed enough to show the region prove that it existed at least a 150 years ago - you can see established woodland in the same plot in this 1875 survey as an overlay on aerial imagery with this link: https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/print/#zoom=17.3&lat=51.67550&lon=-1.28314&layers=117746211&b=1&o=78 I appreciate the sign itself is relatively generic. Unfortunately, although it’s an ancient site (the FitzHarris estate was originally a 12th century property belonging to the abbey: https://www.abingdon.gov.uk/abingdon_streets/fitzharris-estate ), the woods themselves are not very well advertised despite being maintained as natural woodland for residents to enjoy.

Though inconspicuous, this sign is therefore an important one for highlighting opportunities for exploration in the area just beyond the primary paved route through running through the wood. The main natural paths inside the woods can be seen on this map: https://mapcarta.com/W55567882

This link should take you to a Google Street View in a position on The Motte east of the sign that allows you to see it from a distance looking down a paved footpath and over a wooden fence: https://www.google.com/maps/@51.674061,-1.2811894,3a,41.6y,297.79h,81.93t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1se9_hvSkAjIEI6MoqFBh3Kg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

So! As you can see, it’s a remarkably old woodland area with some history that now finds itself surrounded by houses. There’s a set of maintained paths constituting a “Nature Walk” according to the town council. It feels like there’s a reasonable POI in here somewhere, but maybe this sign isn’t it?

I’m assuming the temporary part of the rejection isn’t the reason here, as the sign is visible on 2015 Google Maps Street View. Not Distinct feels like a stretch though - I’ve never seen a sign like this one anywhere else! This sign fails to mention the name of the walk or woods, though, and I suspect that makes it an “easy” rejection.

I figure my options are:

  • Roll the dice and resubmit/appeal as it
  • Try again but with the name “Boxhill Wood Nature Walk” and note that the sign is being used to anchor it. Take out the explanation of the routes inside the wood and highlight more of it’s specific history.
  • Accept that this isn’t a valid POI for the database.

Am I on the right track, or getting something obvious wrong?

Well, there’s lots of history… and probably too much for reviewers.

I would suggest finding some reliable evidence that it’s a named trail and adding that to the supporting text, so if there’s a council website or similar try that.

You are best trying to anchor on a trailmarker or a place name sign. The one you submitted is a sign that basically says “please keep it tidy” which I think is going to be a very hard sell. I do see that there’s a photosphere which is a help.

Alternatively, you could try calling it “Boxhill Wood South Entrance” or something similar, stress that it’s related to Boxhill Park. But again, the sign isn’t much of a thing to back that up with.

I note that the area is better marked on OSM than Google Maps, sometimes it’s worth linking to that, e.g. Way: ‪Boxhill Wood‬ (‪55567882‬) | OpenStreetMap

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Useful advice, thank you.

Annoyingly the ownership of the woods is split the town council and district council, with neither taking ‘full credit’ for the park that I can easily point to. I suspect that’s why there hasn’t been more specific signage installed.

In looking up council records on signage though I just turned up minutes from a meeting earlier this year that discusses improved signage for a few parks in the town and specifically calling out Boxhill Wood among them!..

…and a vote agreeing that they’d get generic signs so they can bulk order them. Ho hum.

Still, that digging led to a useful link for the Tudor bridge further along the trail that might be handy for another POI.

I think this should have passed and is a good example of reviewers not reviewing holistically.

I would just change the word sign to trailhead (because the sign is not the POI) and point out in supporting that the sign is an identifiable placemarker, as required and acceptable (doesn’t even need to be a sign, as shown in this example):


I think you are trying a bit too hard and throwing all the great stuff about the area in, and what you end up presenting to the reviewers is a very confused picture………I have done this so many times myself :joy:
It’s about the trail so stay focussed on the trail. That way it will be shorter, to the point and more readable.


Excellent points both. Lots of ideas to work on, and its clarified a few things I’ve been thinking about for other unsigned spots in the town that ought to clear the “worth exploring bar”.

I would just change the word sign to trailhead

Along with the reference you’ve pulled in, that sounds like a solid plan. I’d expect to need a review ready but it’s not an indefensible spot. I think I’d be inclined to move a few metres down the path to the first dirt tracks forking off the main route.

It’s not technically correct and I lose the sign, but one of paths forks off in a picturesque way down to the river.

I think you are trying a bit too hard

Agreed! Was definitely throwing everything in to try to offset the lack of an obvious sign. I think I can reduce the story right down to…

  1. It’s a nature trail maintained by the local council, plus link showing they do and deliberately keep it unsigned

  2. A link to Nature England’s record of the wood, which includes it’s formal designation as Ancient

  3. Rework the description to note that the woods were purchased for public use by the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, as a treat. Of all the snippets I’ve found for the site, this is the one that tickles me the most.

That said, there are now POI in the woods for the 16th century bridge on the West entrance & a boardwalk inside so I’ve hit my goal here of trying to get something on the Lightship map for each of the quiet riverside spots I enjoy locally.