Bernwood Forest

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Finemere Wood by Tim Read

The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust revives the ancient landscape of Bernwood Forest.

In February 2013 we started the three year Bernwood Project spanning five reserves on the Oxon/Bucks border, made possible by funding from WREN and Aylesbury Vale District Council.

We set out to rejuvenate our ancient woodland sites, improve our lowland meadows, restore our ponds and create new ponds. The project covered the Bernwood Forest area, once owned by the Crown and used largely for deer hunting. Historically, the term forest referred to a specific legal status, rather than to the more modern idea of a dense area of trees and the Bernwood Forest was and still is a rich mosaic of varied habitats.

We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has made this project a success, we have incredible volunteers working across the reserves on everything from practical management to key species surveying and they are responsible for so much that this project has achieved.

A large part of the project work was reinstating traditional management which would have taken place hundreds of years ago; e.g. coppicing of hazel and hedgelaying. However, there were also some big changes made across the reserves, which you can go and see as they develop.
One of the major works of the wholeFinemere pond & ride project was the creation of a new ride at Finemere Wood which connects a meadow in the middle of the wood with our meadows on the edge.

By doing this we have created a fantastic wildlife corridor to allow things like butterflies and wildflowers to spread across the reserve and move into new areas.

The new ride cuts across an area recently cleared of conifer and now packed with oak, willow, silver birch and all sorts of wonderful broadleaved species, we’re very excited to see how it develops over time!

At the same time as the new ride went in we also created three new ponds and restored three others so it shouldn’t be long before we see an increase in dragonflies patrolling the skies along the new ride!

The other key legacy of the project is our new forestry tractor and trailer which allows us to extract timber from our reserves and use it elsewhere in the Trust. Not only is this fantastic bit of kit small enough to get into our delicate woodlands, it has allowed us to be more proactive in our woodland management and make use of the timber resource we produce.

On top of all that we’ve replaced more than 3.5km of fencing, recruited more than 15 new volunteers, taken on 7 Conservation Trainees and run more than 15 events including guided walks, treasure hunts and a coppicing event to celebrate the first ever National Coppice Day. It’s certainly been a busy three years!

I encourage everyone to come and explore this wonderful area and see at firsthand the work the Wildlife Trust has completed. Follow links on the left hand side of this page to the reserve pages, take a look at the Blogs by our staff and volunteers and be inspired to join them. Follow the volunteering link to find details of our various work parties!

When you're out and about in the Bernwood Forest keep your eyes open for these key species:

Brown hairstreak butterfly by Malcolm Brownsword


Bullfinch by Mark Harris


Brown long-eared bat by BBOWT/North Bucks Bat Group



Your photos

Share your Bernwood Forest photographs with us! Add them to our Flickr group, and tag them with 'bernwood'.

Get involved

You can get involved with the Bernwood Forest reserves by:

A-Z of Wildlife

Photo of Brown Hairstreak

Name: Brown Hairstreak

Scientific name: Thecla betulae

Category: Butterflies and moths

View full A-Z

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Snakeshead Fritillaries Survey by BBOWT

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