WROUGHTON residents are preparing to carry out a sponsored walk as part of the final push for the Kings Farm Wood appeal.

Steve Harcourt, villager and a member of the Wroughton parish council, is hoping to gather a group of people to beat the bounds on March 15 and to raise money for charity.

Beating the bounds is a tradition dating back to before the Norman conquest to maintain the integrity of a parish’s borders in a time before accurate maps.

Steve, 62, said: “Beating the boundary is a medieval tradition where you go around the boundaries of the parish. They used to actually beat the boundary with sticks to mark out the territory.

“It’s just something a bit different to do to raise money for the Kings Farm Wood appeal. It just seemed like a fun way in which to raise the money.”

Walkers will start out from Croft Road near the bridge over the M4 at the edge of the boundary, and walk around the parish as far as Barbury Castle.

It is thought the route is about 18.5 miles long, although this is likely to fluctuate as walkers have to take different routes and diversions around busy roads, as their predecessors would have done.

Steve said: “There are some parts of the boundary that we don’t want to walk, and we will be walking along the M4 at one point. But we are hoping to walk as far as we can around the parish boundary.”

The challenge is to help to raise the final £5,000 needed to save Kings Farm Wood before the deadline on March 31.

Kings Farm Wood was rescued from development in 2012 after parish councillors, Swindon Council and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust teamed up to buy the £180,000 woodland.

The local authority and trust pledged £100,000 and £50,000 each towards the purchase of the grounds and even fronted the parish council the remaining £30,000 Villagers have pulled out all the stops since January, organising a Mile of Money event, coffee mornings and pub quiz nights in order to reach their £30,000 target.