Monks Wood

This amble is just a short introduction to a little known local gem. So there's a good chance you'll have this ancient woodland all to yourself to feel at one with nature. One thing is certain, you'll soon be back to explore more of the paths and get deeper into the wood. With a history stretching back more than 1,000 years, it's a rare visit when you don't come away having spotted something different. Pack a picnic to rest half-way in East Field.

It's a National Nature Reserve and one of the country's top sites for beetles; there are more than 1,000 species. Throw in a wide range of woodland plants, butterflies, birds and other wildlife. The wood has been studied in depth by the experimental research station located here for over forty years from 1963. If you really want to dive into the detail of Monks Wood, read the report ENRR613 Main.

This 2 mile (4,400 steps) walk can be varied by taking alternative routes shown in the map below. Generally easy walking. Beautiful autumn tints as shown in the image above. Stunning bluebells in late spring as shown in the image after Point 1. Can be muddy during wet weather or in winter. May find yourself tackling fallen branches or uneven ground on some of the narrower paths. Good idea to take a copy of the map to find your way back to the start. You can also zoom in on a satellite view of the walk at Google Maps.

Starting point
There are spaces for a couple of parked cars to at the junction of the B1090 and Bridge Street, the road leading to Woodwalton. Although not a formal car park, parking is allowed so long as you don't block access. Other parking areas are shown on the map.

Follow the track leading away from the junction. After 200 yards you'll reach the entrance to the wood and an information board. Turn left and walk up a slight incline along the edge of the wood. After just over 400 yards, as the route turns slightly to the left, take the path on the right called Owl  Ride, heading into the wood. Follow this for about 350 yards.

Point 1
At the end of Owl Ride you'll come out at the top of one of the broad avenues, called Stocking Close Ride. The route heads downwards. If you have children with you, part of the decline is gently steep enough for a race. After 500 yards Stocking Close Ride intersects Main Ride, the broadest route through the wood. Turn left and follow Main Ride for 350 yards.

Point 2
Hotel Ride crosses Main Ride. Turn right and follow Hotel Ride for 450 yards. Turn right into Eastfield Ride. It's worth having a detour into East Field, a grassy area with a wildlife pond. A perfect spot for a picnic.

Follow Eastfield Ride for 600 yards.

Point 3
At the end of Eastfield Ride you'll find yourself at the northernmost tip of the wood and quite close to the B1090. Follow the path around to the right into Eastedge Ride. After 500 yards you'll find yourself at the beginning of Main Ride. Continue straight on to return to the wood entrance and the track back to your car.

Click the 'Print Friendly' button below to print out this walk to take with you. Or for more walks click the 'Return Home' button at the foot of this page. Did you enjoy the walk? Notice anything unusual? Why not add a comment below to tell fellow amblers what you liked about it?

Thanks to Martyn Ferry for image 1.


  1. I've lived around here for over 20 years and never visited Monks Wood until a couple of weeks ago - what a huge oversight! It is a magical place, strangely like a huge deserted city with grassy boulevards where the roads would be and impenetrable trees and undergrowth instead of city blocks! The lack of decent parking is what was probably putting me off, and it does feel a bit dodgy leaving the car in a scrappy layby frequented by fly-tippers, but the wood itself is wonderful and I'm looking forward to seeing the bluebells and primroses in the Spring! Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  2. Anonymous12:17 pm

    The reserve appears to be closed (padlocked gates) at the moment - April/Easter 2023 - does anyone know why? No notices posted which is unusual and no obvious reason.


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