Highfield and Hangingcroft Wood
Highfield and Hangingcroft Woods are situated between Micklefield Road and Croftwood Road. They form part of a suite of woodlands with adjoining Kings Wood (owned and managed by Chepping Wycombe Parish Council) and Gomm’s Wood Local Nature Reserve.
Highfield and Hangingcroft Woods have been designated as a Local Wildlife Site (LWS) by the Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Biodiversity Partnership in recognition of its value for wildlife and to the local community.
A network of permissive footpaths link Micklefield with Totteridge, Hazlemere and Tylers Green and are used by many local people on a regular basis.
Highfield and Hangingcroft Woods consist of four main compartments ranging from:
Mature beech and cherry woodland with some good quality natural regeneration but with an understory dominated by holly.
Mature ash and remnants of coppiced hazel and wych elm can be found in the undergrowth with a field layer of ground Ivy, dog’s mercury and lords and ladies; a younger area of mixed woodland.
Tree species include beech, cherry, whitebeam, English oak, and sycamore with an understory of dogwood, field maple, hawthorn and self-seeded ash. This last compartment has a network of woodland glades surrounded by dense scrub and young woodland – take a few minutes to relax on the bench and watch the passing wildlife.
Finally, there is a short woodland ride with blackthorn and willow growing along the margin, which marks the boundary with the adjoining Kings Wood LWS.
Best time to visit
The woods are a great place to visit for recreation, nature study, dog-walking or simply as a cut-through and are used regularly by local residents (including those of a feathered and furry variety).
The wood is a fantastic resource for local schools, clubs and uniformed groups studying or discovering wildlife in their local environment.
Spring is always an exciting time to come here when the woodland floor is carpeted with lesser celandines, dog’s mercury, violets, wood anemones, yellow archangel and bluebells. Most of these plants are known as ancient woodland indicators, showing that parts of these woodlands have been here for over four hundred years. Local specialities, coralroot, bitter-cress and wood barley can be found in the areas of dappled light in these woodlands, often with speckled wood butterflies flitting around.
In spring, birds such as the Song Thrush, Chiffchaff and Blue Tit are in full song and vibrant breeding plumage as they vie for breeding territories and the blue tits may even make use of one of the nest boxes!
Wildlife in the area
Foxholes, deer scrapes, nests, tracks and badger setts show evidence of just some of the creatures that inhabit or pass through this site. Damage of some of the more mature trees can be seen, bark stripped by grey squirrel is evident on a variety of older trees. Piles of brash across coppiced hazel stools and plastic guards around newly planted trees offer some protection from deer and voles who eat the fresh growth.
Standing deadwood is left where safe to do so away from footpaths to provide suitable habitat for a variety of wildlife including woodpeckers, beetles and bats.
Recently, new steps have been installed to improve access between some of the steeper parts of the site. Paths have been widened and levelled, and glades have been opened up improving visibility for visitors and benefiting wildlife too. Kissing gates have been installed to try to make the site a safer place to visit. Way-marked posts guide you around this wood, please download the leaflet in the Resources tab for a map showing all the paths and more.
There are many entrances to the site but the main one that has ample parking can be found by Micklefield Community Centre, Centre Approach off Micklefield Road, High Wycombe HP13 7FY (Grid Ref: SU892932).
Download the guides below, which are in PDF format, print them or simply view them on your mobile device.