Upper Hughenden Valley

The Hughenden Valley is a valley which runs north from Hughenden up to the villages of Speen and Bryants Bottom. It contains several BAP woodlands – especially on the eastern flanks and areas of neglected calcareous grassland survive on its steep slopes. This BOA connects to Central Chilterns Chalk Rivers BOA.

Area Coverage: 1124 ha
Local wildlife sites: 14
BAP Habitat: 
Lowland Beech & Yew Woodland: 89.5 ha
Lowland Mixed Deciduous Woodland:44.5 ha
Lowland Calcareous Grassland: 21 ha
Lowland Meadows: 0.2 ha

Joint Character Area: Chilterns

Landscape Types: Wooded agricultural land

Geology: Chalk with overlying deposits of alluvium sand and gravel in the valley bottom, and clay with flints on the highest points of the ridges.

Topography: A steep sided valley with gently sloping valley bottoms. The valley splits into three at its head.

Woodland – The area contains BAP quality woodlands at Millfields Wood SSSI and Gomms Wood, Longfield and Hatches Woods and Piggott’s Wood. There are several other mixed deciduous woodland sites spread aross the area.
Calcareous Grassland – There are calcareous grassland sites at Millfield Wood SSSI and the LWS at Cowslip Meadow. The area also contains concentrations of unmanaged calcareous grassland that has now reverted to rank grassland or scrub but which offer the opportunity for restoration. Little Stocking Meadow is one of the few sites in the county containing Meadow Clary.
Arable Field Margins – The bottom of the valley is predominantly arable. The Chilterns is a Plantlife priority area for rare arable plants.
Traditional Orchards – There is a potential BAP orchard at Orchard Farm.
Lowland Meadows – There is lowland meadow habitat at Haypole Field. This site is an ex-brickworks and its complex geology has created an area of lowland meadow with calcareous and acid species too.
Hedgerows – there is a concentration of pre-18th century enclosures throughout the valley which may contain species rich hedgerows.

Woodland – Management, Restoration, Creation
Arable Field Margins – Management, Creation
Traditional Orchards – Management, Restoration
Hedgerows – Management, Restoration, Creation
Lowland Meadows – Management, Restoration, Creation

Places to visit:

National Trust own Hughenden Park. BBOWT own Millfield Wood. Woodland Trust own some of Gomms Wood. Prestwood Picnic Site is a LNR.