Hodgemoor Wood is a 250-acre woodland in South Bucks. Located between the historic town and villages of Amersham, Chalfont St. Giles and Seer Green, Hodgemoor is a natural heritage area, designated by Natural England as a “Site of Special Scientific Interest” (SSSI).
It is owned by Bucks County Council but administered for them by Forestry England. The wood is only 40 minutes from Central London, making it a popular destination for walkers, cyclists and horseriders who can appreciate a wide variety of trees (oaks, birches, beeches, hornbeam), its outstanding bluebells, foxgloves and other flora and fauna. Check out the 2017 wildlife compilation video made by 15-year-old Harry Whiting in and around Hodgemoor by clicking on the image, right, and see others on our Nature Videos and Photos page.
Hodgemoor has a large network of footpaths and riding trails maintained by the Hodgemoor Riding Association, i.e. by the horse-riders themselves, on behalf of and in coordination with, Forestry England.
The contract between the two organisations gives riding members of the Association the right to use the trails but gives them also the obligation to maintain the trails; this arrangement has been held up elsewhere in the UK by authorities, Forestry England, the British Horse Society and other riding groups as a model of useful private-public cooperation.
Since 1999, the Hodgemoor Riding Association has raised over £120,000 to renovate the riding trails, improving access for all users. These works realized the installation of a new bridleway and four new permissive trails, generating 3,000 metres of new track.
The two pictures here to the right show the same place, the Spring Link, before and during our work. The backbone of the trail has been laid, then hoggin goes over the top. The main objective of all renovation has been to keep horses on their allocated paths and to free the wood from extensive areas of mud in winter.
Membership is compulsory for horseriders (minimum £20 per annum). Walkers and cyclists are encouraged to join too for as little as £5 per year. Every penny goes to creating and renovating the trails, and conserving the wood. Besides subscriptions, funds are raised through events such as the popular TREC (involving obstacles and orienteering), cross country jumping, and Dog Agility competitions.
Please make a contribution or subscribe by clicking on Riders, Walkers & Nature or Cyclists above.
Members also volunteer to do some maintenance work. Our efforts have not gone unrecognised; here are some of the awards we have won:
The Brett Environmental Trust 2002 Award for Improving Public Access to Hodgemoor Woods
The British Horse Society Access Award 2004 for the BHS member who has done most for equestrian access
The Forestry Commission’s East England Forest District Group Volunteer Award 2016.
New map for walkers: download here
Here are a dozen of us in late November 2014, digging out mud from two sections of Susie’s Loop to create drainage channels. We hope you’ll decide to join us and become one of Hodgemoor Woods’ growing membership and conservation champions.
We have a strong following on Facebook with 500 people following us and several thousand people seeing our public service posts when shared. Click here.
Susie Bicknell, Secretary, Hodgemoor Riding Association
Homefarm Orchard, Kirby Close, Threehouseholds, Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP8 4F
You can also contact The Forestry Commission at their Aston Clinton office under Wendover Woods on 01296 625825
Explore Hodgemoor with the Forestry Commission: www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/englandbuckinghamshirenoforesthodgemoor
The Chiltern Society: www.chiltern.org.uk
Web site set up by Garreth Mills, maintained and updated by Marcus Bicknell firstname.lastname@example.org