Bernwood Forest Review

Bernwood Forest is on the Oxfordshire / Buckinghamshire border near Brill. It’s biggest highlight has to be the butterfly trail that goes through and around Bernwood Forest. Apparently it is one of the best butterfly and fungus sites in Britain. Because of the lack of facilities there are relatively few people and you’re all so spread out that you barely see anyone else! In the whole time we were there we only saw about 10 people!

The Butterfly Train at Bernwood Forest

Bernwood Forest butterfly trail map | Review by Free Time with the Kids

Whilst there are several different paths that you can take through Bernwood Forest, the Butterfly trail is probably the most popular. It’s not called the butterfly trail for nothing! There are hundreds of them, which means the best time to visit is in spring and summer. I’m no lepidopterist so I only know a couple, but we spotted loads of ringlets, essex skippers and marbled white butterflies. The trail is well signposted all the way round.

Bernwood Forest Butterfly Trail | South Oxfordshire family walks | Review by Free Time with the Kids

The Butterfly Trail at Bernwood Forest isn’t your typical woodland walk. Most of it is on a wide grass path that is flanked by forest. You can’t really walk through the woods and you certainly can’t climb on any trees, much to the boys’ dismay!! In the height of summer you could do this with a pushchair, although it’s quite bumpy in places. I wouldn’t even bother in spring/autumn/winter though. You can tell that it gets REALLY REALLY muddy here. Despite the fact that we’ve had weeks of hot, dry weather there were still large patches of boggy mud. I can’t imagine it ever really dries out.

There was a very cool wooden platform about half way around. I has no idea why it was there but the kids loved running up and down it.

Bernwood Forest Review | South Oxfordshire family walks | Review by Free Time with the Kids

The trail is really quite long, but it’s mostly flat. If you do the full trail it’s 2.5 miles. We took the short cut so it was only 1.9 miles. That still took us 90 minutes, but that probably says more about the speed of my kids’ walk!

Please clean up after your dog!!!

I’ve moaned this before, and it really is a bugbear of mine but Bernwood Forest is one of the worst places I’ve been to recently for dog poop. There was loads and it definitely not another animals poop. I get it, you don’t want to walk around with a bag of poop in your hand. Neither do I. That’s why I don’t have a dog!!! There is a bin near the car park that you can use.

Our Bernwood Forest Review

Bernwood Forest is really peaceful (until my lot rocked up!) and it was lovely to see so many butterflies. If you’re looking for a quite place to walk then this is absolutely an option BUT the poop let it down. Other than going for a walk there isn’t really a lot to do here so you won’t be here all day.

Admission Cost

Entry is free

Parking / How to get there

Parking – there is a free car park on site. If that’s full there really isn’t anywhere else to park. Apparently there have been problems in the past with break-ins so please don’t leave anything on show.

Address – Oakley Rd, Boarstall, Aylesbury HP18 9UR. Visit their website for more details.


None on site


There’s no cafe on-site. TBH I really don’t think you’ll be here long enough to need to take food. There isn’t anywhere to sit and have a picnic

Nearby places to visit

Brill Common & Windmill, Boarstall Duck Decoy and Waterperry Gardens are all nearby.

Bernwood Forest Review | South Oxfordshire family walks | Review by Free Time with the Kids

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Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with our three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch or get in touch via Facebook

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