A dynamic yet fragile woodland habitat renowned for its beautiful butterflies and wild flowers along the wide, grassy rides
This area has been wooded since at least 1600. The nature reserve has undergone many changes in recent years. More than half of the wood was felled and replanted with conifers in the 1960s. Now, the large area of densely planted conifers is being slowly removed so the wood can return to majestic, native broadleaved woodland. Cleared areas are already softening with oak, ash, birch, willow, hawthorn and wild flowers.
In spring, primroses and bluebells flourish in the old coppice area. Along the rides hares are frequently seen during the mating season in March and April. By May, these wide swathes of grass are rich in wild flowers. One of the rarer species you can see here is the grass vetchling, a member of the pea family, which flowers from May to July.
In summer butterflies are abundant. Look out for the marbled white and common blue. The magnificent purple emperor may be spotted in July basking on the bare earth before vanishing up into the oak tree canopy. Look out for the silver-washed fritillary and white admiral too.
BBOWT's careful management of the blackthorn bushes is helping to strengthen the survival of rare black and brown hairstreaks. Both species are small and elusive and depend upon the blackthorn as a food source for their caterpillars.
This reserve is part of our Bernwood Forest project: a five-year project to enhance and recreate the woodland, meadow and hedgerow habitats across five BBOWT nature reserves on the Buckinghamshire - Oxfordshire border.
Things to do
- Try our circular Wildlife Walk (2.25 miles). Just follow the badger waymarkers.
- Look out for our seasonal guided walks including autumn fungus forays.
- Volunteer with our Bernwood Forest work party
- Help us manage this reserve by supporting us
- Tweet your wildlife sightings to @bbowt
- Sign up to our e-newsletter
Download the site risk assessment.
Your photographs of Whitecross Green Wood
Share your photographs of Whitecross Green Wood with us! Just add them to our BBOWT flickr group, and tag them with ' Whitecross Green '.
Species and habitats
- Amethyst Deceiver, Bluebell, Common Spotted orchid, Enchanter's Nightshade, Primrose, Ramsons, Yellow Archangel, Yellow-rattle, Brimstone, Common Blue, Marbled White, Purple Emperor, Speckled Bush-cricket, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Great Tit, Sparrowhawk, Brown Hare