Enjoying Autumn Colour in and Around West Berkshire

It seems we are expecting a colourful autumn this year, so here are a few of our woodland areas, plus- as a treat- our two closet arboretums.

Basildon Park
Basildon Park

Visiting a woodland is great for both body and soul. An autumn woodland glowing with colour and rich with the smell of damp earth is a wonderful, uplifting place to be. 

“We recommend that all visitors book a ticket in advance, including members”

Engelfield Estate
Engelfield Estate

The gardens are open to visitors every Monday throughout the year from 10.00am – 6.00pm April to October and 10.00am – 4.00pm November to March. The entrance fee is £5.00 but is free for children. Please no picnics, ball games or dogs, except guide dogs.

Snelsmore Common
Snelsmore Common
Three types of heather can be found amongst the heath; ling, bell heather and cross leaved heath. They are in full flowers in August and September. Other heath plants such as bilberry thrive here too. Areas of scattered gorse provide perching areas for stonechats and other scrub-loving birds.
Dogs permitted
Please keep dogs on leads on the main common during the bird nesting season (1 March – 31 July)
Paices Wood Country Parkland, Aldermaston
Paices Wood Country Parkland

Around the lakes are generally level but there are several steeper routes, particularly through the woodland.

Sept to Oct: 7am-8pm

Bucklebury Common
Bucklebury Common

The common is mainly broadleaved woodland of oak, ash and beech with younger areas of birch and large areas of heathland. There is also an old avenue of oaks at Chapel Row which are over 400 years old and planted in the late 16th century to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth I.

Dogs
On a lead
During the breeding season help us to protect ground nesting birds: From 1 March – 31 July please keep all dogs on leads and keep to the paths to avoid disturbing birds nesting on the ground.
Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

All year round

Padworth Common
Padworth Common

Padworth Common nature reserve is a tranquil haven for wildlife with heathland, woodland, ponds and alder-lined gullies.

When to visit
Open at all hours
Best time to visit
March to September
About the reserve

A diverse heathland

The purple swathes of open heathland are set among a tapestry of ancient oaks, grasslands, ponds and pine trees.Dogs permitted

Decoy Heath
Decoy Heath
Decoy Heath

Aldermaston

Decoy Heath is one of the best sites for dragonflies and damselflies in Berkshire. No fewer than 23 species have been known to breed around its shallow pools. They include the keeled skimmer, white-legged damselfly, emerald damselfly and the small red damselfly with its bright red legs. This scarlet species prefers shallow, unshaded streams and bog pools with overlaying bog-moss mats. By creating new pools, the Trust has significantly expanded the available habitat for these delightful insects.

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

All year round

Dogs on a lead
Wokefield Common
Wokefield Common

Wokefield Common is a tranquil site with a good network of paths that lead through tall pine and broadleaf woodland, past ponds, heather and rich wet gullies.

Opening times
Open at all times
Best time to visit
All year round

Dogs permitted

Greenham Common
Greenham Common

Greenham and Crookham Commons form the largest continuous tract of open heath in Berkshire. It is special for the mix of purple and pink heathers and golden yellow gorse, wildflower-filled grasslands and expanses of bare gravels – all easily accessible to visitors.

When conditions are right, Greenham Common is host to a late-summer wildlife spectacle as hundreds of autumn lady’s-tresses orchids flower. 

The best spot to see these beautiful snow-white flowers twirling around soft grey stems is on the short dry turf 100m east of the Control Tower car park. From late afternoon the tiny flowers waft a soft, coconut fragrance. Tread carefully or you’ll squash them!

There is a café on the site run by Greenham Common Control Tower.

Opening times

The Common is open at all times.

Best time to visit

All year round

Dogs -Under effective control
 
Please keep dogs on a lead on the main common during the bird nesting season (1 March – 31 July)
Sole Common Pond
Sole Common Pond
Sole Common Pond Sole Common Pond, Nr Hoe Benham

A pond rich in wildlife in the middle of a piece of ancient Berkshire common, Sole Common Pond has a great variety of habitats for its size. In autumn, the woodland floor is dotted with many brightly coloured fungi including the large and gaudy bitter beech bolete and the bright red beechwood sickener. The reserve is prone to flood in winter.

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

March to November

Dogs
On a lead
Bowdown Woods , Nr Newbury
Bowdown Woods

Autumn is a colourful time at Bowdown Woods, which contains woodland, grassland and heathland. Leaves turn to shades of gold and brightly coloured fungi push their way to the earth’s surface.

Opening Times
Open at all times
Best time to visit

All year round

Dogs
On a lead
Thatcham Reedbeds
Thatcham Reedbeds

This reedbed forms part of the West Berkshire Living Landscape which covers more than 27 square kilometres of lowland heathland, ancient woodland, reedbeds, rivers and streams.

Opening times

The Nature Reserve is open at all times but the main car park is subject to seasonal locking times.

Best Time to Visit

All year round

Dogs permitted

Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury Gloucestershire 

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