This is a lovely wood to visit. Just east of Great Missenden, the wood consists of a mix of old broadleaf trees standing amongst canopies of younger trees. In spring, masses of bluebells stretch across the forest floor covering the wood with a carpet of blue flowers. Enjoy the dappled shade in summer as the sun shines through canopies of elm, beech and oak. A circular walk takes you around the wood and runs past the remains of an old castle.
Owned and managed by the Forestry Commission, approx. one third of the woodland is designated as PAWS, Plantations on a Ancient Woodland Site. The future management of this woodland is to gradually remove the conifer element to create a broadleaf woodland with conifer trees that are grouped or scattered in nature.
At 31 hectares, it only takes a few hours to thoroughly explore every corner of this diverse wood. In 2004, the woodland was opened up for public access. Reached from a fantastic public footpath leading out from the back of Great Missenden church and across the field with views over the surroundings, Rook wood is an ideal escape into the countryside for locals. With a good network of tracks in and around the woodland, you can follow a boundary walk or take a circular route around the ‘castle’, an old settlement with a ditch and moat. This Scheduled ancient monument is topped with young ash saplings and during spring, a vast carpet of blue, fragrant bluebells, Hyacinthoides. Please don’t expect wide, surfaced trails as the paths in here are informal and narrow in places, keeping them as natural as possible.
In early May the bluebells are just going over but yellow arc-angel is just beginning to peak, a rich yellow against dark green nettle-like leaves. Dog’s mercury covers the ground and occasional primroses are scattered throughout the woodland floor.
Old saw-pits and other dells are found throughout the woods, with nesting coal tits and clumps of box to add interest. Sweet woodruff and wood spurge can also be seen now under the newly opened broadleaf canopy. Beech, cherry, ash, hawthorn, and sycamore are the main species along with a scattering of mixed conifers including larch. Speckled Wood butterflies are about now and buzzards and red kites can be seen soaring above the woods and nearby fields.