An historic woodland, home to many birds and butterflies, including the magnificent purple emperor
Finemere Wood, a mixture of broadleaved woodland, patches of scrub with paths and wild rides, with an historic meadow, ponds and two streams, is also a butterfly paradise.
Throughout the year, Finemere Wood has the thrilling atmosphere of a very old, wild place. Spring is particularly special when the rides are edged with primroses, and bluebells carpet the woodland floor. If you look closely, you can find wood spurge, wood anemone, early-purple orchid or greater butterfly-orchid. In the sunnier coppiced areas, lesser celandine and dog's mercury appear early, and in the summer, hairy St. John's-wort and willowherb take advantage of the clearings. An impressive 200 species of flowers have been recorded here.
At the heart of the wood you will find a sheltered haven of rough pasture and thickets. Traditional grazing has encouraged the return of plants such as ragged-robin and cuckooflower in the spring and saw-wort, betony and devil's-bit scabious in the summer. In the autumn, the low sun highlights the seed heads of grasses like wood small-reed and tufted hair-grass. A good variety of bees buzz around the meadows throughout the summer.
This nature reserve is one of the best places to spot the magnificent purple emperor. Head for the main ride in July and August. Its smaller cousin, the white admiral, thrives here as well, particularly around trailing honeysuckle leaves. A warm summer may bring an influx of silver-washed fritillaries that hunt out patches of violets for their caterpillars to feed on.
Finemere was once used by kings and queens for hunting wild boar. Along with Rushbeds Wood and Whitecross Green nature reserves, also in Buckinghamshire, it was a part of the ancient Royal Forest of Bernwood. BBOWT is currently reviving this ancient landscape in a 3-year conservation project.
Species and habitats
- Grassland, Woodland
- Bluebell, Cuckooflower, Devil's-bit Scabious, Early Purple Orchid, Midland Hawthorn, Primrose, Ragged-Robin, Saw-wort, Wild Service tree, Wood Anemone, Wood Spurge, Yellow Archangel, Comma, Purple Emperor, Purple Hairstreak, White Admiral, Common Carder Bee, Red-tailed Bumblebee, White-tailed Bumblebee, Common Lizard, Grass Snake, Barn Owl, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Goldcrest, Kestrel, Nuthatch, Rook, Skylark, Song Thrush, Treecreeper, Woodcock, Brown Hare, Red Fox