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Explore Bernwood Forest
(Average user rating: 5 unrated 4.3/5)

Bernwood Forest was part of The Royal Hunting Forest of Bernwood, which covered approximately fifty modern day parishes, and recieved royal protection for over 700 years. The Bernwood Jubilee Way, part of the project to reinforce the identity of the hunting forest, runs through a section of the wood on its 61 mile journey within the Ancient Forest Boundary.

Shabbington and Waterperry, the two woods that make up Bernwood Forest are gradually being converted to native broadleaf and continuous cover through natural regenration. Hopefully in time these areas will revert to an Oak woodland with hazel understorey.

One of the main priorities is to encourage food plants for the wide variety of both rare and common butterflies which live in the Forest.


What do other visitors say?

I keep my ponies not far from here but never been, is it allowed for horses/small ponies to go in the forest? Do we need a permit? We wouldn't be riding only walking them. Is there anywhere suitable for parking and loading/unloading trailer? Thanks in advance

Karen , 12/Jan/2017

Dear Karen, Thank you for the enquiry. I am afraid we no longer issue horse riding permits for the woodland. We do have horse trails in Wendover Woods, with de-boxing facilities. For more information visit or call 0300 067 4160.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

I enjoy visiting the woods often. Is there anywhere I can find out more about the flowers growing there. I am an amateur and need something easy and pictorial. Your help would be appreciated. As others say it is easy to get lost.

Fay Banks, 31/Jul/2016

Pictorially, I would suggest a Field Studies fold-out guide.F They are very pictorial and easy to carry. You may need more than one as the habitats are different on the ride edges and in the woodland. Have a look at The old yellow waymarkers are currently being renewed with posts with arrows so this should be simpler to follow.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Went yesterday. What a hidden gem. I agree with the comment above as there is still no map. We had to ask someone coming back which way to go. Even followed a yellow arrow and it took us out to a main road so we had to backtrack. Was still a great walk though.

Ad, 11/Jul/2016
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Last updated: 28th November 2016

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What's Here?

  • Picnic
  • Walking
  • Wildlife
  • The wood contains about forty species of butterflies making it one of the most important sites for Lepidoptera in Britain. Many species of wild flower are present along the rides, within the wood. These are carefully managed by Forest Enterprise to provide the butterflies with a varied habitat and food source. Bernwood is also home to Fallow and Muntjac deer and many species of fungi.
More about what's here


OS Grid ref: SP 613117

Get directions


Wendover Woods Office

0300 067 4160 (Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings) 07796 313507 all other times

Useful sites

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.