Skip Navigation

More about Bisham Woods

This large and colourful ancient woodland contains a diverse mix of broadleaf species and conifer. Its rich ground flora, interesting archaeological features including an old ice house, and extensive network of footpaths and bridleways, ensures Bisham Woods has something for everyone.

Bisham Woods is an extensive (155ha/383-acre) ancient woodland said to be one of the UK's most colourful ancient woodland sites, dominated by beech, but with a mix of other broadleaf species and some conifer. It sits on the scarp slope rising from the flood plain of the River Thames in the Royal Borough of Windsor, with spectacular views across the Chiltern Hills.

Its diverse range of ground flora includes varieties of orchid, primrose, lady’s bedstraw and wild strawberry, and plants indicative of ancient woodland such as the bluebell which appears in colourful drifts in the spring.

Bisham More Info
Pond in Park Wood (Photo: WTML/R. Fisher)

The woods are believed to be at least 500 years old, but may once have formed part of Britain’s original wild wood. Until the 13th century they belonged to the Bisham Estate which was owned by the powerful Knights Templars of Bisham Abbey. Many of the archaeological features on the site are evidence of its past, including the ice house constructed in the 1760s.

The site is also home to the now abandoned Bisham Quarry which was an important source of stone throughout medieval times and provided the stone used to build Windsor Castle. Several depressions where clay has been removed for the brick-making industry have now formed ponds rich in wildlife.

A wide network of paths and bridleways runs through the wood, making it readily accessible to walkers, horse riders and cyclists. Bisham Woods really is a truly wonderful place and offers lots to interest even the most discerning of visitors.

OS Explorer 172; Landranger 175

Grid ref: SU852844

Setting

Bisham Woods is situated on a hillside rising from the flood plain of the River Thames in the Royal Borough of Windsor, sandwiched between Maidenhead to the south and Marlow to the north, with the River Thames in between. It is about 15 minutes drive from Windsor and 30 minutes from Heathrow, and near the M4, M40 and M25 motorways. The nearest village is Cookham Dean 1.6km (one mile) away.

Access and walks

The woods contain eleven public rights of way, including restricted byways, bridleways and footpaths, serving pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists.

At the public footpath entrances there may be squeeze gaps to negotiate. Some of the paths follow the contours while others take routes down the valley slopes which can be steep in places. The path surfaces can be muddy during periods of wet weather and remain muddy under dense shade from the tree canopy, though there has been some path surfacing in places.

Directions

By bus
There are few buses passing close to the wood, the nearest being the M1 (pre-booking needed) bus service between Marlow and Maidenhead which stops at Cookham Dean about one mile away. From there, some road-walking along country lanes will be necessary to reach the wood.

By train
Nearest train station is Maidenhead, which is on the line to London-Paddington and is about 4.8km (three miles) from the site.

For further information on public transport, contact traveline on 0871 200 2233.

By car
Bisham Woods is sandwiched between maidenhead to the south and Marlow to the north. It is about 15 minutes drive from Windsor and 30 minutes from Heathrow, and near the M4, M40 and M25 motorways.

There is limited parking off a track running from the A308 Marlow Road, with further parking at Bisham roundabout, on the A404 heading towards the M4, where there is a picnic area.

There are further car parks at Winter Hill SU870860 and Cookham Dean Common (Winter Hill Lane) SU861843.

By boat
The closest moorings are located at Cookham Meadow and Marlow.

Local amenities

Public conveniences
There are several public conveniences in Marlow maintained by Wycombe District Council at Central Marlow, Gossmore and Pound Lane (phone 01494 421 415) and at the MSCP Maidenhead and Sutton Road, Cookham (phone 01628 683 800).

Refreshments
The nearest place for refreshment is at Cookham Dean, 1.6km (one mile) away. For a comprehensive list of restaurants in and around Cookham Dean please visit TripAdvisor.

Accommodation and tourist information
As Marlow, Maidenhead and Windsor are so close to the site, there is a wealth of accommodation to choose from. Try The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead website or Visit Buckinghamshire for further information.

Entry into our woods is free but please donate now to help us care for them.