College Wood - The Heart of England Forest

College Wood

Get walking in the Heart of England Forest

We’ve created a waymarked trail through College Wood near to the village of Studley, and its perfect for a stroll at any time of the year.


This is a gentle walk starting from the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Studley, with views of Spernal Park and Studley castle.

Distance: 1.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Start / finish: Car park near Church.
Nearest postcode: B80 7AB
Terrain: Clearly marked woodland paths following the arrows.

  1. From the car park follow the public footpath through the cemetery and straight on. At the end of the hedge there is a small seasonal pond to your left .
  2. Again head straight on up the slight rise. At the top there is a larger seasonal pond to your left which is the remains of an old marl pit. Look out for the veteran wild pear tree. From here you will be able to see a single oak tree at the far end of the woodland ride in the next field which is your destination at the farthest end of this walk. Head down the slope towards the gap in the hedge.
  3. Crossing through the gap, passing over a stream look out for freshwater mussel shells on the banks. Once through the gap, keep heading straight towards the lone veteran oak, and a view of Spernal Park in the distance. Keep an eye out for an owl box to your left in an oak tree – it’s not uncommon to see barn owls in the area.
  4. Once you have reached the lone veteran oak, look left at the view of Studley Castle. As you look at the Castle the mature wood closest to you on the right is The Alders, aptly named as you will notice in the new planting thousands of self-set alder. This, in time, might become alder carr and hopefully provide suitable habitat for the rare lesser spotted woodpecker.
  5. Now turn right until you reach the hard track, keeping the alder plantation to your left. Alder does well in this area as it is low lying and naturally wet.
  6. Turn right on the track and keep following it until you reach the gap in the hedge over the stream. Notice more alder regeneration on your right and Morton Brook to your left. If you are lucky you may see a kingfisher.
  7. Once you have crossed the stream take the right fork and follow the ride past the seasonal pond/marl pit back towards the church. The mature wood on the right as you walk along the ride is Studley Thorns.
  8. When you reach the Phoenix Way Wood sign bear left back towards the cemetery and through to the car park. Phoenix Group sponsored the woodland creation in this part of the Forest and continue to support us through corporate sponsorship and volunteering.


 SKYLARKS – Rising almost vertically from the grassland, hovering and parachuting back down.

BROWN HARE – Grazing or bounding across the woodland edges in a zigzag pattern

 GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER – In bouncing flight or listen for them ‘drumming’ away in a tree trunk

The Heart of England Forest