Located in a beautiful Chilterns valley, Homefield is a diverse woodland with a wide range of habitats.
Its a valley woodland predominantly of two halves: conifer and beech. Although well wooded, the chalk geology gives rise to species rich grasslands along wider rides, ride junctions and meadow glades. in these places, wildflowers thrive and in the right weather numerous butterflies.
A fantastic network of paths and tracks allow you to reach every corner of this woodland. On the Southern Ridge is a belt of huge beech trees, planted in the 1850's. The meadows and pasture on the North of the woods are a Site of Special Scientific Interest, primarily noted for its chalkland flowers and invertebrate interest. This area is managed by the Beds, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT). Rich in a variety of species of orchid including military, butterfly, fly and bee orchids, some areas are fenced to prevent damage to these rare plants. Homefield is home to many other plants and animals as well as birds.
There is a limited amount of car parking at the eastern entrance but please keep the gateway clear.
The reserve is made up of beech, ash, sycamore and whitebeam with glades and open grassland.
Wild orchids flourish in both the woodland and the grassland here. Some grow in the shady woodland, while others prefer the bright sunshine of the open grassland areas or woodland edge. Species include the handsome military orchid, rare in the UK, which grows on the scrubby grassland here. Its dense spikes of pinkish-violet flowers have petals and sepals folded in such a way that they resemble a knight's helmet. The distinctive lower petal is shaped like a human form with 'arms' and 'legs' and the spots resemble buttons on a jacket. Although widespread in Europe, the military orchid is rare in Britain, flowering in late May and early June and is found on only three sites in the UK.
Butterflies, bees and moths
The rich variety of wild flowers that grow here attract butterflies such as the marbled white, white-letter hairstreak and the silver-washed fritillary. A variety of bees also find nectar in the flowers, and over 400 species of moth have been recorded, including blotched emerald and striped lychnis.
Birds and mammals
Resident and visiting species of birds include chiffchaff, cuckoo and blackcap. Tawny owls can often by heard calling during the day. Fallow and roe deer are also regular visitors to the reserve.