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wildlife

Oxhey Woods Local Nature Reserve

Open all year

At nearly 100 hectares this is the largest Local Nature Reserve in the Three Rivers District. 28 points of interest

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nature

Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland

Woodland

Oxhey Woods has a complex past being a mix of ancient semi-natural woodlands (ASNW) with varying ages of plantation and secondary woodlands which is reflected in the stand types visible today. For many areas, particularly the ASNW, coppice was the main form of historical management with hornbeam, hazel, ash and sweet chestnut areas still apparent. High forest, dominated by oak, also appears to have been a significant form of management and here and there conifer has been planted perhaps as a nurse crop with broadleaves. Some areas may also have been wood pasture.

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nature

Ancient Woodland

Woodland

Oxhey Woods is principally ancient semi-natural woodland.  Several areas date back towards the last ice age some 10,000 years ago.

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attractions

Archaeology

Site of historical interest

Oxhey Woods has a rich archaeological history.  There are old wood banks, ditches, mounds and tracks.  For example there is an old boundary bank between the areas of Oxhey Woods known as Abbots Wood and Nanscot Wood.

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nature

Beck Mason's Wood

Woodland

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carpark

Car Park, Oxhey Woods

Car Park

Free car park.

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nature

Dead Wood

Wildlife

The scattering of old decaying trees found throughout Oxhey Woods may appear to have reached the end of their useful life.  However, to wildlife, just the opposite as true.  As the trees start to decay they provide shelter for bats, woodpeckers and countless populations of insects.

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nature

Development

Woodland

After World War II active management declined, as it did in many woodlands across the UK.  Some areas of Oxhey Woods were lost to housing and an area along a diagonal line from the north-west corner of Oxhey Woods was cleared to make way for a road which, fortunately for the wood, was never actually built.

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nature

Heath

Woodland

The woods contain a range of habitats which make it one of the most important woodlands in the county.   Oxhey Woods, for example, contains areas of relic heath flora.

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nature

Little Furze Field

Woodland

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nature

Nanscot wood

Woodland

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nature

Old Furze Field

Woodland

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nature

Old Hangings

Woodland

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nature

Oxhey Woods Local Nature Reserve

Wildlife

Three Rivers District Council owns more than 240 hectares of woodland.  Oxhey Woods is its largest woodland and its largest Local Nature Reserve at 97.7hecatres.  Oxhey Woods was designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 1997 which reflects its value to wildlife and people.

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Oxhey Woods Sculpture Trail Community

Artwork

This sculpture illustrates that people and nature are all part of ‘one earth’ community and that we all share the same space and resources.  Carved from a single piece of oak, it is more than just a piece of art to be admired.  Look closely and you will see it also serves as a home for many insects, with lots of nooks and crannies for a variety of bugs to live in.

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Oxhey Woods Sculpture Trail Entrance Arch

Artwork

Access the sculpture trail through the wood arch constructed from local oak.  The artist has made use of the natural curve of a branch, which has been split and fastened together to create an attractive shape and pleasing symmetry.  The carvings on the front of the arch were interpreted from drawings made by local school children of some of the wildlife found in the wood.

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Oxhey Woods Sculpture Trail Frog

Artwork

Resting in the pond a frog, carved by chainsaw, illustrates the variety of wildlife that can be found in Oxhey Woods.  This amphibian will live in and out of water.

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Oxhey Woods Sculpture Trail Liviing Room

Artwork

This interesting sculpture provides an image of something very familiar to us; a living room scene set in the very unusual surroundings of the wood.  The artist carved the sculpture from locally sourced oak with a chainsaw, using other tools to give a smooth finish.

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Oxhey Woods Sculpture Trail Picture Frame

Artwork

This finely carved sculpture frames just one of the countless beautiful woodland views that can be enjoyed along the trail.  The frame features the attractive shapes and forms of leaves and sees that can be found in the wood.

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Oxhey Woods Sculpture Trail Stag Beetle

Artwork

Suspended high in a large oak tree, the impressive stag beetle is our largest land-living insect.  Trees play a very important role in supporting wildlife, particularly oaks, which provide food and a home to more than 400 species of insects.

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Oxhey Woods Sculpture Trail Xylofence

Artwork

This instrument provides an opportunity for you to experiment with sound in Oxhey Woods.  Made from sweet chestnut trees harvested in Oxhey Woods, it was made for playing, do don’t hold back – find a stick and create some sounds.

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nature

Pond

Water Habitat

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nature

Rhododendron Walk

Woodland

Rhododendron is not native to the UK.  It can form dense stands which, as they mature, cast deep shade on the surrounding vegetation.  This prevents the natural regeneration of the woodland as seedlings cannot establish.  This will mean that new generations of trees cannot develop to replace those lost, with the eventual reduction of woodland cover.  Where extensive stands of invasive rhododendron have become established spring flowers, which are an integral part of ancient woodland such as Oxhey Woods, are severely impoverished. One of the main areas of mature rhododendron was found in the area known as the Rhododendron Walk.  To conserve this valued historic feature the avenue of invasive rhododendron is being replanted with less aggressive species of rhododendron in a phased programme, which will ensure that an attractive display of flowers is maintained for many years.

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fitness

South Oxhey Health Walks

Health Walk Start Point

Health Walks aim to help promote walking and encourage people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to get outdoors, get active and reap the health benefits. A regular walk incorporates Oxhey Woods and the sculpture trail.  To find out more go to https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/walkfinder/east-england/watford-and-three-rivers-health-walks

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nature

The Plantation

Woodland

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playarea

Volunteer Opportunity

Interactive Activity

The Oxhey Woods Conservation Volunteers work with the Council and the Countryside Management Service to help keep Oxhey Woods special.  They hold regular volunteer days and everyone is welcome to lend a helping hand - no experience is necessary.  To find out more visit: http://www.owcv.btck.co.uk/

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nature

Young Hangings

Woodland

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Park Information

At almost 100 hectares, Oxhey Woods is the largest Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in the Three Rivers District. A circular trail runs through the southern woodland. It is suitable for families with young children, people with limited mobility and wheel chair users. Along the route you will find a series of sculptures, the work of several artists, made with natural materials and locally sourced wood. We hope you enjoy your journey around this fantastic woodland!

The woods contain a number of walking routes ranging in difficulty, but the highlight is a one kilometre easy access trail. The trail which is circular, starts and finishes in the car park and is ideal for a family visit. On arrival you will be greeted by a striking carved archway to welcome you to the trail and upon closer inspection, you will notice an array of intricately carved tiny creatures designed by local children. As you walk along the trail you will discover numerous sculptures created using natural materials that reflect the wildlife and history of the woods.

The woods contain a range of habitats which make it one of the most important woodlands in the county. Within its bounds can be found spring displays of bluebells, anemones and violets plus the unusual wild service tree. The pipistelle bat, Britain’s smallest bat is a common site at Oxhey Woods.

Visitor opinions are very important to Three Rivers District Council.  Feedback helps to ensure that the Council works towards providing the quality and facilities expected by visitors.  Would you like to have your views heard?  Well now's your chance.  Complete the online Oxhey Woods survey here and help the Council improve your local open space.  Paper copies of the survey are available upon request by phoning the Council on 01923 776611.  There is no closing date - results will be reviewed throughout the year and appropriate actions put in to place.

 

 

 

 

 

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On Site Facilities

  • Car Park (Free)Car Park (Free) icon
  • Dogs WelcomeDogs Welcome icon
  • Pushchair Friendly PathsPushchair Friendly Paths icon

How to get here

Parking:

There is a car park in the southern part of the woods at the junction of Prestwick Road and Oxhey Drive. Direction here

 


Public Transport Information:

There are regular buses. Contact Traveline for information on 0870 6802608 or visit www.intalink.org.uk


Cycling:

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