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Homefield Wood

Rare orchids are the treasures of this small but outstanding reserve - and it's also a haven for birds, butterflies and moths. Record numbers of orchids were seen in 2016: a total of 722 flowering military orchids, and an abundance of fly orchids in flower. This reserve can attract a lot of visitors when the orchids are in flower at the end of May and early June. Please take care to avoid trampling orchids and other plants that may not yet be in flower.

Forest past

Woodland and grassland have existed on this warm slope for at least 200 years, though forestry work has created many changes. The reserve is made up of beech, ash, sycamore and whitebeam with glades and open grassland.

Rare orchids

Wild orchids flourish in both the woodland and the grassland here. Some grow in the shady woodland, while others prefer the bright sunshine of the open grassland areas or woodland edge. Species include the handsome military orchid, rare in the UK, which grows on the scrubby grassland here. Its dense spikes of pinkish-violet flowers have petals and sepals folded in such a way that they resemble a knight's helmet. The distinctive lower petal is shaped like a human form with 'arms' and 'legs' and the spots resemble buttons on a jacket. Although widespread in Europe, the military orchid is rare in Britain, flowering in late May and early June and is found on only three sites in the UK.

Butterflies, bees and moths

The rich variety of wild flowers that grow here attract butterflies such as the marbled white, white-letter hairstreak and the silver-washed fritillary. A variety of bees also find nectar in the flowers, and over 400 species of moth have been recorded, including blotched emerald and striped lychnis.

Birds and mammals

Resident and visiting species of birds include chiffchaff, cuckoo and blackcap. Tawny owls can often by heard calling during the day. Fallow and roe deer are also regular visitors to the reserve.

Things to do

  • Guided walks to see orchids or butterflies are held occasionally; find more information on the what's on page
  • Help us manage this reserve by supporting us
  • Tweet your wildlife sightings to @BBOWT
  • Sign up to our e-newsletter

Your photographs of Homefield Wood

Share your photos of Homefield Wood with us. Just add them to our BBOWT flickr group and tag them 'Homefield Wood'


Nearby nature reserves

Hog and Hollowhill Woods
1 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Hurley Chalk Pit
2 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Gomm Valley
6 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

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Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Reserve information

2.5 miles west of
Map reference
SU 814 867
Great for...
getting away from it all
Best time to visit
Mar - Aug
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
6.00 hectares
Walking information
Undulating; gentle slope, firm paths; gates and hurdles
Take A4155 west from Marlow; turn right at Dog and Badger pub; at T-junction turn right, then immediately left. The car park (4/5 cars only) is 500 m on left at bottom of hill. Park by forest entrance without blocking gate! Nature reserve is 50 m on right along forest track.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Tel: 01442 826774

Smartphone Safari

Every weekend on BBC Radio Berkshire and BBC Radio Oxford we broadcast a Smartphone Safari. Listen along as we explore some of our fantastic reserves and introduce you to the wildlife you can see.