- Discover a woodland that has developed over thousands of years with a trip to Oxhey Woods in Hertfordshire.
- Explore the ancient woodland, with hundreds of interesting species of animal and plant life.
- Enjoy the beautiful carved sculptures that can be found on the forest trails, made by local artists.
The beautiful countryside of Hertfordshire is the perfect place to escape to for a day trip from London and many other cities in southeastern England. One of the most interesting places to visit in this green and beautiful county is Oxhey Woods, just outside of Watford.
These historic woods are an important nature reserve, and have developed over thousands of years. Parts of the forest can be traced back over 11,500 years ago, which was during the last ice age! Today, the Oxhey Woods are a great place to visit on a family walk; a lovely way to get back to nature.
Set over 242 acres, the nature reserve is home to an incredible array of plant and animal life. There are a number of different nature trails you can go on, which are perfect for any level. One of the most popular trails is the Oxhey Woods Sculpture Trail, which begins in the car park and takes a circular one-kilometre route. The trail is one of the best forest walks in Hertfordshire. This trail goes along a firm path, making it accessible for parents with buggies or wheelchair users, too.
As you walk along the trail, you’ll discover a number of impressive sculptures. These wooden sculptures have been designed by a number of local artists and were made with the intention of celebrating the natural surroundings of the forest. Many of the sculptures have interactive features and are really fun for kids to explore.
The sculptures that can be found in the park are a great way to build kids’ imaginations. As you go down the main trail, you’ll walk underneath the entrance arch, carved out of a branch from Oxhey Woods. If you look carefully, you’ll be able to see the intricate carvings within the arch, which have been made to reflect drawings created by local school children. Many of the sculptures at the park represent the beautiful wildlife that calls the forest habitat home. A giant interpretation of a stag beetle sits in the trees above, whilst a frog which has been carved by a chainsaw takes centre stage in the middle of a pond in the woods. There’s also the impressive 'Community' sculpture, which resembles a village and has become a home for many insect species of the forest, as it is full of interesting nooks and crannies.
Some of the sculptures are also interactive, which can be great fun for kids and adults alike. It might seem strange, but you could come across a living room setting during your visit to Oxhey Woods. A wooden armchair, complete with a wooden television, sits in the outdoor forest!
If you’re musically inclined, Oxhey Woods has the perfect sculpture for you. The 'Xylofence' sculpture is a giant musical instrument made out of sweet chestnut trees from Oxhey Woods. This brilliant sculpture was made for visitors to grab a nearby stick or branch and experiment with their own woodland sounds.
There are plenty more great things to do in this area of Hertfordshire. For a park with even more activities, you can’t go wrong with Watford’s Cassiobury Park, which is the largest public park in the area and bursting with fun things to do. Or, you could discover the magic of Harry Potter with a visit to the Warner Bros Studio, where much of the hit movie franchise was filmed.
What to know before you go
- Oxhey Woods is open 24 hours a day.
- There’s nowhere to get something to eat or drink in Oxhey Woods itself, although there are picnic benches throughout the forest, which are great places to eat a picnic in the woods. There are restaurants and cafes in nearby South Oxhey, as well as in Northwood and Pinner Green, two local areas.
- Unfortunately, there are no public toilets either in Oxhey Woods.
- Parts of the woods are accessible for wheelchair users and parents with buggies. The one-kilometre route that begins in the car park is fully accessible, and probably the best option for families with young children as it isn’t too long either.
- Oxhey Woods is about an hour’s drive from central London and is located just outside of Watford in Hertfordshire.
- There’s a sizeable car park in Oxhey Woods, which can be found on Oxhey Drive. Parking here is free of charge.
- Oxhey Woods are also accessible by public transport. Carpenders Park station is a 15-minute walk away from the nature reserve and is served by London Overground trains.
- There are also bus routes that go down Oxhey Drive, which runs through the woods. These buses include the 8, 282, and H13.