Wychwood Forest & Cornbury Park

Cornbury Park Estate includes the 870ha Wychwood Forest - the core 262ha is a National Nature Reserve and most of the rest is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Wychwood is one of the largest areas of ancient semi-natural broadleaved woodland in Oxfordshire. The forest is notable for plants such as herb-Paris, early purple orchid, adder’s-tongue fern and autumn crocus. The forest is interesting in all seasons with plenty of striking tree silhouettes, lichens and ferns; there are also several calcium-rich ‘marl lakes’ abundant in insect life. The current day woodland is a small remnant of the historic royal hunting forest (see 1815 map of Wychwood Forest). The Wychwood Project focuses on the former Royal hunting Forest of Wychwood, it encourages people to understand, conserve and restore its rich mosaic of landscapes and wildlife habitats. The Wychwood Project area includes 41 parishes, some 120 square miles.

Circular Walk through the Forest

This 8 mile circular walk  from Charlbury includes the only Public Right of Way through the Wychwood Forest. In April/May, the blubells are spectacular at Knighton's Copse along the path from the Leafield Road north to Chilson. (map).

Bluebells in Knight's Copse

Palm Sunday Walk

On Palm Sunday, tradition allows the public to walk through the Forest to Wort’s Well, the ancient spring, to collect water for making Spanish liquor. Access from Five Ash Bottom (see map) or the public footpath through the Forest (see map).

On Palm Sunday, folk went into the forest to a spring called Wort's Well or "Uzzle". They took with them bottles containing a spoonful of brown sugar, a piece of liquorice and a black peppermint. At the spring they filled the bottles with water, the resulting concoction was used as a general “cure-all.” Wild liquorice plants grow next to Wort’s Well; which before the introduction of black liquorice, was probably used as the basis for the concoction.
John Kibble, a local historian, writing in 1928, records that prayers were said at the spring:
"Hast then a wound to heal; The wych doth grieve thee?
Come then unto this welle, It will relieve thee:
Nolie me tangeries, And other maladies”
Spanish Liquor Day  - Memories from Finstock

28/06/10 - Down Memory Lane: Walkers flocked to explore 'Secret Forest' at Wychwood

Chalybeate Well within Cornbury Park

The Cornbury Estate also upholds the longstanding tradition of welcoming residents of Charlbury, Leafield and Finstock to the deer park to visit the Chalybeate Well every Palm Sunday

New Years Day Walk

Cornbury Deer Park is open annually on New Year’s Day to Charlbury residents.

Forest Schools

Charlbury and Finstock primary schools both regularly take children to Forest Schools held within the forest.

Cycle Route

permissive cycle route follows the line of the present footpath from the Park's North Lodge to Southhill Business Park and on to the Witney Road. The route is open to cyclists from Easter until the end of October and provides a safer alternative to the Fawler Road between Charlbury and Finstock.