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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?

4 Stars 4 Stars

Lovely walk but on 11.07.18 the Doy Waste bin was overflowing- give the heat it was not a pleasant sight or smell. I also noticed dog mess on the paths, not something I have seen before - maybe as the bins are overflowing, people are now not bothering. Shame!

Vikki Greenway, 12/Jul/2018

Thank you for letting us know. We have contacted the contractors to get this resolved.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Love this area to walk my dogs in stunning scenery and the bluebells then the foxgloves are a delight... just one thing the dog bins are overflowing 3.7.2018 and in this heat one can imagine its not nice but at least they are being used

Jane, 3/Jul/2018

Thank you for this. We will get in touch with our contractors to resolve the bin situation.

Forestry Commission Response

Hi is possible to use a metal detector at any forest?

Many thanks.

Alberto Ruiz, 12/Nov/2017

Thank you for the enquiry. We do not currently permit metal detecting on the public forest estate, unless part of a permitted project or group (e.g archaeology)

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, a complaint or would like a personal reply to your comments.

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"1HO"
 

Last updated: 10th July 2018

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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

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.