Highfield and Hangingcroft Woods
Although Highfield and Hangingcroft Woods are separate woods, only a boundary bank separates them: this is not easy to spot unless you know where to look. Both woods are owned by Buckinghamshire Council, and a single Local Wildlife Site designation dating from 2010 covers the two woods. Together, they occupy 22 acres of land that has escaped both past agricultural use and the intensive residential development that replaced all the former farmland within the Micklefield area many years ago.
The woods are now managed for Buckinghamshire Council by the Chiltern Rangers Community Interest Company. They are ancient woods, as the numerous Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) plants to be seen in the woods make clear to anyone visiting the woods in spring.
There are about a dozen gates providing public access to these woods from the surrounding housing areas, and, within the woods, there are plenty of paths and numerous flights of steps to help visitors to negotiate these hanging woods safely. Once in these woods, you could easily spend at least a couple of hours following the various paths and getting plenty of exercise climbing the steps, whilst enjoying the natural history on offer. Glades which have been created at the NW end of the woods support grassland plant species, and a range of shrubs around the glades provide opportunities to see plenty of butterflies and birds.
If arriving by car, it is best to park at the Micklefield Community Centre, Centre Approach, off Micklefield Road, HP13 7FY (OS Map Ref SU 892932). An environmentally-friendly way of visiting both Highfield and Hangingroft Woods, and Gomm’s Wood on the opposite side of the valley, is to catch a No.32 bus (which runs frequently) from the town centre to the top end of the Micklefield valley. It is then only a short walk to the left to enter Highfield and Hangingcroft Woods, and a short walk to the right to enter Gomm’s Wood. For a much longer continuous woodland walk, both Highfield and Hangingcroft Woods and Gomm’s Wood join up with Kings Wood, offering 186 additional acres of woodland to enjoy.