The Wood Family
The Portway farmland came into the ownership of Lincoln College in c1650 as the result of a dispute between the College and the Wenman family, who were the original owners.
The Wood family first occupied the farm in 1885, with Walter Frederick Wood as tenant. The family had previously farmed at Knowle Hill Farm and prior to that, in North Marston.
Walter Wood ended his farming life at Beechmore Farm in Whitchurch where he died in 1934. His brother, Philip, farmed at Dunton and brother Ferdinand, at Dinton.
The family owned other farms in the area.
Lincoln College sold Portway Farm to the London Brick Company in 1932 and Walter’s son, Tony, continued the tenancy but in 1968, London Brick decided that the land was not suitable for excavating clay for brick manufacture so offered the 230 acre farm to the family.
The family built up the business by purchasing neighbouring farms and their total acreage is now about 1,100 with a total of 11 farms.
In 2020, the business is mainly dairy and beef with their herd of 300 dairy cows delivering 10,250 litres of milk per day – every day.
The farm business has been severely affected by the close proximity of HS2 which runs through their land. HS2 have purchased about 100 acres as well as using 35 acres for “temporary take”.
Ant Wood and his brother Mike from Shepherds Furze Farm now run the business along with two of Ant’s three sons, Mark and Charles.
Ant relates that his father, Tony, was a great golfer.
Ant’s father, Tony, who died in 1985 was one of a family of 8, six boys and two girls. One of his nephews, Peter Wood, still lives and works in Twyford and ran the engineering business started by his father Gordon.
Gordon Wood worked for Armstrong Siddeley in Coventry but lost his job as a result of the great depression. At the same time, his brother, Donald, returned from working for Mr Stewart of the London Brick Company at Stewartby so in 1932 they set up as Wood Brothers, repairing taxis and transport. They used a premises at the Old Rickyard at Portway Farm before moving to the current premises at Portway Road.
Peter Wood served an apprenticeship doing both day release and evenings at Oxford, having failed to secure an aero apprenticeship with the De-Havilland Aeroplane Company. Peter worked in the business with his father and others, both in employment and partnership until he acquired the premises in 1977.
Peter specialises in supplying spares for both MG and aviation worldwide but in his spare time he rebuilds classic aeroplanes and his renovated Sea Fire SX 336 is now flying again – the only Sea Fire Mk 17 still flying.
Peter did a lot of the work in rebuilding the plane himself then the renovation was completed, and the aircraft flown by Kennett Aviation based in Bedfordshire. It is due a major maintenance in 2020 after which, hopefully, it will be flying again.