Homefield Wood

Homefield Wood - Jim Asher

Rare orchids are the treasures of this small but outstanding reserve - and it's also a haven for birds, butterflies and moths. 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.

Location

2.5 miles west of
Marlow
Buckinghamshire
SL7 2HL

OS Map Reference

SU814867
A static map of Homefield Wood

Know before you go

Size
6 hectares

Entry fee

No

Parking information

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

Grazing animals

Yes

Access

Undulating; gentle slope, firm paths; gates and hurdles

Dogs

On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

March to August

About the reserve

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.

Contact us

Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Contact number: 01442 826774
Contact email: info@bbowt.org.uk

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)