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Explore Cowleaze
(Average user rating: unrated unrated)

Cowleaze Wood is set high in the Chiltern Hills with amazing views over the surrounding countryside. There is a great mix of habitats in this small wood and plenty of paths to explore. The bluebells in late April and May are like a blue carpet and well worth a visit.

There is a great diversity of trees and a great viewpoint in the corner of the wood.

There is a grassy area suitable for picnics, ample car parking and a dog bin is provided for those walking dogs.


Halifax bomber

Tragically, on 31 March 1944 a Handley Page Halifax Mk III bomber aircraft, LW579 of No 51 Squadron RAF, was returning from the Nuremburg Raid when it crashed in the wood, killing all seven of its crew.

LW579 was based at RAF Snaith in the East Riding of Yorkshire and seems to have been at least 120 miles (190 km) off course. It was a clear, moonlit night, and it is not clear why the Halifax lost height and crashed into the hill. It was one of six aircraft that the squadron lost in the same night on the same mission.

There is a monument in the wood to the crew of LW579. It is a stone plinth from Lincoln Cathedral,9 now with the men's names inscribed upon it. In 2015 BBC Radio Oxford broadcast a documentary about the crash, the crew and some of their surviving relatives.

The night was unexpectedly clear allowing German fighter planes with anti-aircraft guns to attack. For more information click here.

What do other visitors say?


We would like to donate a bench for the use of visitors to Cowlease Woods . My late husband loved it so much and visited them for over 43 years with the family.Can you tell me, please , if this is possible & what do we need to do.

Many Thanks.

Mrs. Shirley Brown, 18/May/2015

That's a very thoughtful and kind gesture. We will contact you shortly.

Forestry Commission Response

Just been to see the lovely bluebells at Cowleaze wood but they are being smothered by brambles this year. The wood needs to be managed better and these brambles cut back before the bluebells are lost.It would be a shame to lose one of the best bluebell woods.

Anonymous, 2/May/2015

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Last updated: 11/26/2015

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What's Here?

  • Arts
  • Educational
  • Picnic
  • Walking
  • Viewpoint
  • Fine views across the valley can be seen from the far end of Cowleaze.
  • Wildlife
  • The conservation value of this wood is low, due to its uneven age structure of trees and large numbers of visitors and their dogs. Red Kites are common in the surrounding area but have not yet nested in Cowleaze. Fallow, Roe and Muntjac can be seen roaming through although they are not resident. The wood covers 29 hectares and contains both conifer and broadleaf trees, all planted between 1957 and 1966. The most abundant tree species are European Larch, Oak and Beech. The three types of larch are found within this wood (European, Japanese and Hybrid).
More about what's here


OS Grid ref: SU 726959
Postcode: HP14 3YL

Get directions


Wendover Woods Office

0300 067 4160 (Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings) 07796 313507 all other times
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification certifiedForest Stewardship Council certified