About Wendover Woods
Wendover Woods is one of many forests throughout the UK which is managed by Forestry England.
A bit about Wendover Woods
Open all year & great value for money, Wendover Woods is the place to visit on the North edge of the Chiltern Hills.
Covering 325 hectares, Wendover Woods is is a great place to take the family, with lots of trails, children’s adventure playground, a fitness trail, and of course our cafe. For those that fancy a challenge there is also the Go Ape high wire forest adventure!
There is also archaeological interest in the form of Boddington hillfort and the Woods contain the highest point in the Chilterns (267m).
Wendover Woods has year-round interest, from beautiful displays of bluebells in the spring to barbecues and picnics in the summer followed by broad spectrum of autumnal colours as the trees turn and allows you to enjoy those crisp winter walks. In quieter areas you can watch woodland birds, including the rare firecrest and if you’re lucky and you may see a deer or two.
History about Wendover Woods
In medieval times, from 1000 – 1400AD, woodlands were the biggest natural resource of the Chilterns. They provided construction materials for houses, carts and fences, as well as all the fuel and heating needed by peasants and their feudal lords.
By the 18th century Chiltern woodlands had grown in economic importance and were being managed more closely. They were an important source of firewood for London and local towns.
By the 19th century the demand for firewood from Chiltern woodlands had fallen because more and more people were using coal for fuel in their homes. At the same time though the local furniture-making industry was taking off, and this required a regular supply of wood. Chair-making became an important industry, especially around High Wycombe. The woods began to change in appearance as tall, narrow trees were grown to produce timber which could be handled easily by woodland workers.
The woods across the Chiltern Hills were also heavily exploited during both World War I, and World War II, to supply timber for the war effort. Much of the timber throughout the war years had been imported during peace time, however, with an increased demand and attacks on shipping, local supplies had to be found after war broke out.
A post-war Forestry Commission survey of private woods in the Chilterns recorded that 650 hectares (5%) had been “devastated” by the felling and 937 hectares (7.5%) had been felled. This led to many woods being replanted with faster growing conifers after the war. Many other woods had been over thinned. Beech, the main tree, was used for wartime essentials such as tent pegs (e.g. in Stoke Row, Oxon), rifle butts and plywood for aircraft.
During the 20th century conifers became a lot more commonplace in Chiltern woodlands because they grow quickly. In recent years though a trend has begun to remove conifers from sites which are considered to be ancient woodland (areas which have been continuously wooded since at least 1600).
The economic value of timber from Chiltern woodlands has fallen greatly in recent decades, as the majority of timber in the UK is now imported from abroad and the local furniture industry has declined. Woodlands have become important as places for people to enjoy green spaces, fresh air and exercise and to re-connect with the natural world.