We are the Local Environment Group for the area around Prestwood in Buckinghamshire, including Great Missenden,
The Hampdens, The Kingshills, North Dean and Speen

Our Aims

We aim to protect and enhance the quality of the natural environment through the involvement of local people.

Coming Events

Protecting Our Environment Registered charity No. 1114685

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Prestwood Nature The Local Environment Group for the Prestwood Area

Woodland

Beechwood in summerAfter farmland, the most extensive habitat in our region is woodland, 15% of the land area.  Most of this is semi-ancient natural woodland dating back to the earliest maps in the 18th century.  Much of this woodland is on the agriculturally less productive clays that cover the hill tops, but there are also some woodlands (hangers) on the chalk slopes, such as Pepperboxes Wood, owned by the Woodland Trust, Acrehill Wood on Denner Hill, Piggotts Wood, or the series along the Hampden Road valley, west of Prestwood, from Nanfan Wood to Perks Lane Picnic Site and beyond there as Longfield and Hatches Woods.  Although ancient, these woods have all been extensively worked and often partially clear-felled from time to time.  Almost all were predominantly planted to beech, the preferred wood for the furniture industry until about 30 years ago.  Although they contain many “old woodland indicator” plants, particular rarities are not present.  They are good for finding the typical Chiltern woodland grasses like wood melick, wood barley, wood millet and wood meadow-grass, and wood small-reed grows in a couple of woods.  Bluebell is typical and can form extensive patches.  Wild service tree has occurred, but the best surviving example grows in a wide hedgerow north of Nanfan Wood, where it suckers abundantly.  Acrehill Wood has the largest primrose colony in the area and Coach Hedgerow has the best display of wood anemones.  Coralroot (Piggotts Wood), moschatel, green hellebore, birdsnest orchid, helleborines, Herb Paris (Langley Wood) and spurge laurel (especially College Plantation), all have a few locations.  All the woods have a large variety of toadstools, including interesting species like Old Man of the Woods and Parasitic Bolete.  A lack of real veteran trees, however, limits their entomological interest and provides few roosting sites for bats.  Muntjac and roe deer, and grey squirrels, are too common and cause frequent damage.

Atkins Wood in winterPN is involved with the management of Angling Spring Wood in conjunction with the owners, Chiltern District Council, and the Chiltern Woodland Group.  It has carried out extensive ecological surveys and laid the grounds for the current management plan which emphasises conservation and public access.  Originally beech and hornbeam for the most part, half the wood had been clear-felled in patches and planted up to larch interspersed with native broadleaf trees, and the larch are gradually being removed.  The main ride is being opened up to more light and graded, while paths are being improved.  While there are some uncommon plants and insects in the wood, many good fungi, and “ancient woodland indicator” molluscs such as slender, ash-grey and tree slugs, most of the ground level plants of interest are in small numbers and will need a lot of protection to survive.  It is the only recorded location in the county so far for the introduced landhopper from Australia.  An original feature is a set of trails marked by posts carved by local wood-carver Malcolm Hildreth (whose skills are a survival from the now-defunct furniture industry), accompanied by an MP3 commentary that can be down-loaded from the internet (www.anglingspringwood.org.uk) , this being one of the first experimental woodland audio trails set up by the Forestry Commission.

PN has also carried out our own plant surveys of most woodlands in the area.


Further information:     Angling Spring Wood survey and management plan           Lodge Wood