This is our largest areas of wooded Common with around 5 miles of footpaths through broadleaf woodland, rides and tree-lined avenues. Imaginations can run wild on these family-friendly routes where you’ll find great places to try out den-building and bug hunting. These rich habitats are also great for wildlife spotting throughout the year; look out for emperor dragonflies in summer and bullfinches and red wings in autumn.
History and legend
In the 17th and 18th centuries the area became notorious as a dangerous haunt of highwaymen who took cover in the dense vegetation. Tucked away in the middle of the woods, you’ll find the earth-banks and ditches of Robin Hood’s Arbour, a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM). Originally an Iron-age enclosure for cattle, this glade gets its name from the outlaws that later used the woods as a hideaway.
Little grassland pockets through the woods have allowed common spotted orchids and other wildflowers to flourish, bringing flecks of bright colour to the glades. In warmer weather, butterflies flit through the dappled light in the bramble on the woodland edge. Amongst the younger woods are dotted many ancient and veteran trees, some up to 400 years old, where you may see fungi, insects and birds.
OS map grid reference: SU 857 809
Our nearest car park is on Henley Road (A4130), just off the A4