Forestry Commission logo

Discovery Pass

Discover the
freedom of
the forest…
every day of the year…

Get free parking, discounts on events and much more with an annual Discovery Pass

ForestXplorer

The ultimate free guide to our forests

Forest Xplorer running on iPhone and Android devices

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.

History

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?

Hello,

I'd love to have a nice picnic with friends but we don't know if barbecues are allowed here. Thank you so much.

Susana West, 24/Apr/2016

Hello, I'm afraid we don't have open fires within the woodlands.We do have dedicated barbecue areas in Wendover Woods should you wish to have a barbecue? You can find out more information at www.forestry.gov.uk/wendoverwoods I hope that information is useful?

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

thanks for letting them know the sheep have all been taken in... love walking in the woods daily although the path from the picnic area has got very horrid underfoot and brambles taking over ...

Jane, 16/Feb/2016

Thank you. We are currently reviewing all our woodland access and this includes Cowleaze Wood. This year is particularly challenging with the weather and a lot of our trails are very muddy underfoot.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

visited the woods and the field running next to the path way from the picnic area has sheep in, couple of the lambs seemed very poorly by the fence line one could hardly walk although was standing I have no idea who to contact ... to let them know.

Jane , 10/Feb/2016

Thank you for getting in touch. I will contact the adjacent Estate team now and let them know.

Forestry Commission Response
More user comments

Please tell us about your visit

Please email us at wendoverwoods@forestry.gsi.gov.uk if you have an enquiry or would like a reply to your comments.

Email addresses will not be shown
"3GS"
 

Last updated: 29th February 2016

Be a forest hero

Get the latest news, information & offers

Sign up for our emails

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

Location

OS Grid ref: SU 726959
Postcode: HP14 3YL

Get directions

Contact

Wendover Woods Office

0300 067 4160 (Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings) 07796 313507 all other times
wendoverwoods@­forestry.gsi.gov.uk
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification certifiedForest Stewardship Council certified

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.