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.
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?
Mrs. Shirley Brown, 18/May/2015
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.
Forestry Commission Response
That's a very thoughtful and kind gesture. We will contact you shortly.
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.