Sometimes it can be difficult getting outdoor exercise in a wheelchair, but what is West Berkshire doing about it?

The Wildlife Trust has opened up more West Berkshire Trails and Tracks over the last few years.The £230,000 West Berkshire Access Improvement project, funded by Grundon Waste Management Ltd, Greenham Common Trust, West Berkshire Council and BBOWT has opened up several nature reserves so that more people can enjoy being closer to nature.

Major achievements of the project include:
· New orientation and interpretation boards at Greenham Common with associated way-marked routes and track improvements.
· Redesign of the car park at Pyle Hill, Greenham Common, to accommodate disabled parking and make the space more appealing.
· New easy access trail, refurbishment of disabled toilets and car park, new orientation boards at Snelsmore Common.
· Redesigned car park and easy access trail at Wokefield Common.
· New orientation boards and safer crossing points for horse riders at Padworth Common.
· Improved access for family and school groups at Paices Wood, including a new pond with dipping platform, refurbished way marked routes, orientation panels, outdoor classroom area. 

Bowdown Woods: Paths in the ‘Bomb Site’ area are flat and surfaced, and accessible for robust mobility scooters and robust wheelchairs.

Bucklebury Common: Two flat gravel car parks with height restriction barriers and many less-formal roadside lay-bys. There are many public rights of way including wide byways that are suitable for off-road mobility devices. Caution: some of the routes are used by vehicles and are therefore heavily rutted. Please also be aware the common can get very muddy in wet weather and during the winter.

Greenham Common: Blue badge priority parking at the main (Control Tower) and Pyle Hill car parks. Height restriction barrier at the Crookham car park. Miles of flat gravel tracks on the flat plateau (old plane taxiways) suitable for off-road mobility scooters or those with robust wheelchairs and an assistant. Five waymarked routes available, the woodland trail is the only route with steps and bridges. A minimum of 1.2m and 1.5m accessible bridleway gates at all entrances. Accessible toilet facilities within the old air base Control Tower at the main car park.

Hosehill Lake: Accessible toilets (during opening hours) and blue badge priority parking at the Fox and Hounds pub opposite the reserve. Accessible to those with robust mobility scooters or robust wheelchairs and an assistant. Mix of grass and surfaced paths that can get muddy in wet weather, flat around the northern part of the lake, gently undulating to the south. Note: there are narrow bridges (minimum 70cm) on the southern side of the lake.

Inkpen Common: A largely flat reserve with accessible gates suitable for robust mobility scooters. Can become muddy in places during wet weather.

Nature Discovery Centre. A large, fully-accessible visitor centre, in Thatcham, with accessible toilets and blue badge priority parking. The circular path around the lake is free from steps and steep slopes, and is accessible to those with robust wheelchairs and an assistant. The paths can be wet in the winter as they not all paved.

Padworth Common: Unimproved short flat paths without steps and steep slopes are accessible using robust mobility scooters from the car park (height restriction barrier in place). The paths can become muddy in wet weather. South common paths rutted in places and floods in the winter.

Paices Wood Country Parkland: Three car parks and wide paths are available plus open areas of mown grass. There are steep sections in places but access to all the lakes and upper heathland, wildlife ponds and woodland is accessible with a robust mobility scooter from all car parks. ‘Past and present’ waymarked route accessible to a robust mobility scooter. The woodland waymarked route is not accessible as it has steps and is very muddy in winter. There are steps and steep sections on some non-waymarked paths so check orientation map on site prior to exploring.

Snelsmore Common Country Park: Accessible toilets (during opening hours, RADAR key required and available to loan by toilet door) and blue badge priority parking. A fully-accessible circular flat ¾ mile trail with benches and surfaced with tarmacadam and compacted materials. The kissing gates are fully accessible by wheelchairs; larger mobility vehicles will require RADAR key (available to loan at the entrance building). A wheelchair accessible picnic table is available and also a covered accessible picnic area.

Thatcham Reedbeds: A flat with largely improved surfaced circular route starts at the Nature Discovery Centre. There are undulations but is access with a robust mobility scooter which gives access into the reedbed habitats. Caution: A railway crossing is present so access is only available to the western end of the reserve, a full loop is not possible.

Wokefield Common: A car park with some improved surfaces and height restriction barrier gives access to a 1km/0.6 mile waymarked trail that guides visitors along a gently undulating naturally surfaced path through woodland and open glades. Suitable for robust mobility scooters. Can become muddy with puddles in wet weather.


There are two accessible toilets available in the Stable Yard. There is one right hand and one left hand transfer.

These are bright spaces lit by artificial light from halogen bulbs.

The accessible toilets have paper towels. All hand dyers in toilets are turned off currently.

There is a parent and child room with nappy changing facilities in the Stable Yard

  1. Visitor Reception at Basildon Park – partially open accessed via stableyard side doors.

    • The Visitor reception is in the historic Stableyard and has a tiled floor with stone and wooden clad walls. This space echoes and can be a busy, noisy area at times.

    • There is a slope of a maximum gradient of 1 in 10 and 3 steps with a handrail leading up to the entrance door. An alternative step free path runs up to the large green double doors and then right along the building to the entrance.

    • The entrance door opens inwards and is 850mm wide. It is manual opening, and there are always staff and volunteers available to assist if required. Access from Visitor Reception into the Stable courtyard is through a door which does have a lip of 15mm.

    • Alternative step free access can be made through the large green double doors, please ask a volunteer or member of staff to open these for you.

    • The Reception desk is 710mm high, staff and volunteers will greet visitors in the area in front of the desk.

    • The area is well lit by natural light and by halogen lights.

    • There are chairs available, these do not have armrests.

    • There is an induction loop available at Visitor Reception. Manual wheelchairs are available at the House, for use in the Gardens and in the First Floor showrooms. These do not need to be booked in advance. Please tell the staff at Visitor Reception should you need one and they will arrange for a member of staff to be waiting with one when you reach the House. There is a buggy to take visitors up to the House and back if needed.

        • Leaving Visitor Reception, you will go through a door and out into the courtyard. Here you have the Shop and Toilets straight ahead.

        • To go to the Tea Room and House, walk under the brick archway.

          • The Shop is in the Stableyard area with the Visitor Reception.

          • The yard is brick paved.

            • All corridors and doorways on the First and Second Floors are over 750mm wide.

            • Not all rooms on the First Floor have room to turn a wheelchair easily, however the Visitor Route is one way and all doors and corridors are over 750mm wide.

            • Every showroom has at least one chair for visitors to rest, these do not have armrests. Any chairs without pine cones on them can be used for resting.

            • There is usually a volunteer in every room, however on some occasions this may not be possible.

            • There are no WC’s on the First and Second Floors of the House.

            • After exiting the last bedroom on the second floor, you will go down a stone staircase with a handrail on the right which is partially carpeted and exit through the Tea Room.

              Catering – currently closed

              Entrance to the Tea Room on the Ground Floor of the House

              • The Tea Room is on the Ground Floor of the House, 402m from Visitor Reception.

              • The area immediately in front of the House is gravel.

              • There are 2 steps up to the entrance door which are ramped. The entrance doors are double doors opening inwards, these are manual doors and staff are available to assist  with opening them if needed. The entrance is 1430mm wide when both doors are opened.

              • The floors are stone in the Tea Room, with no soft furnishings to absorb sound. This space echoes and can be noisy during busy times.

              • The Tea Room is well lit with artificial lighting.

                • The entrance doors are manual opening and open outwards to 1060mm wide. Staff or volunteers will assist with opening if needed.

                • The Shop has no soft furnishing to absorb echoes.

                • The area is lit by natural light and LED artificial lighting.

                • There is circulation space of 900-1100mm between all the display stands.

                • There is an induction loop at the till point.

                • Staff or volunteers will assist with getting things down from shelves if needed.

                • Staff or volunteers will assist with telling visitors the price of things if needed.
                  Please note there is a temporary one way door policy in place for both entrance and exit of the shop.

                • House – please note the one way route and areas of the house open each day may differ slightly day to day.
                  • The House is 402m from the Visitor Reception.
                  • The path from the Visitor Reception to the House is along a wooded walk which includes steps. Resting places are provided by wooden benches along the route.

                  • There is an alternative route along our exit road which is hard standing. Please take care when using this path as there may be vehicle traffic along it and this is the pedestrian exit from the property.

                  • The area immediately in front of the House is gravel.
                  • The Ground Floor of the House contains the Tea Room.
                  • Also on the ground floor are the Old Kitchen and the Exhibition Room. These have ramped entrances.

                  • The Garden Room is on the Ground Floor and is accessed through the Tea Room entrance.

                  • The entrance to the showrooms is on the First Floor, an additional 22 steps from the

                  Ground Floor on a stone staircase lead up to it. These stairs are 1m wide and shallow with a handrail.

                  • There are volunteers who can assist in opening the entrance doors on the First Floor. These double doors open inwards to 1420mm when both doors are opened.

                  • Large bags will need to be handed over to our volunteers on entering the House and will be stored for you in the cloakroom.

                  • Children’s buggies are not permitted in the House; they can be stored under the portico. Back pack child carriers are not permitted.

                  • All rooms on the First Floor have carpets which will absorb sound. As this is a historic building the floorboards may creak in some places as you walk across them.

                  • The showrooms are lit by halogen lights in lamps and ceiling fittings. Natural light is controlled with blinds and light levels are kept low for the conservation of our collections. Blinds can be lifted to improve your visit if needed, ask a volunteer to alert a member of staff to assist you.

                      • • Access to the second floor bedrooms is by stairs only, these are stone stairs with a handrail on the left side. There is a half landing where there is a chair to rest if needed.The counter height is 910mm. There are 2 doors into the shop, each is sloped and step free.

                  • Circulation space in the Angkor Wat room is less than 1200mm, but there is seating available in the Entrance Hall with more than 1200mm circulation space.

                  • Chairs are wooden without upholstery. In the Angkor Wat room chairs do not have arms, some chairs with arms are available in the Entrance Hall.

                  • Highchairs are available.

                  • There is an induction loop at the till point.

                  • Menus are displayed on chalkboards above the counter in large print. Large print and braille versions of the menus are not provided. Staff will read out the available menu options if needed.

                  • Straws are available, and large handled cutlery is available on request from the staff.

                    There is a kiosk available in the stable yard serving take away items.

                    Gardens and Parkland

                    • The Gardens extend between the Visitor Reception and the House and overlook the surrounding landscape park.

                    • The garden paths are firm and surfaced with shallow loose gravel approximately 2m wide.

                    • The Terrace and Rose Garden behind the House does require some stepped access and there are no hand rails. There are gates on some routes through the Garden

                    • There is a wildlife pond in the Gardens which is approximately 1m deep and is lightly fenced.

                      • The 400 acres of Parkland have four waymarked trails of varying lengths. The grass

                        pathways can be uneven in places and weather conditions can make the paths muddy and slippery.

                      • There are gates along the routes through the Parkland to enclose grazing cattle.

                        Contact details for more information

                        T: 01491 672920
                        E: 25th June 2020

Limited wheelchair access

Parts of the gardens are terraced or on a hillside making wheelchair access difficult in places. If the ground is firm (after dry weather), then it would be possible to view much of the gardens.

There are two wheelchairs available which can be pre-booked with the Administration Office ( or 01189 976480. In case of late arrival, the wheelchairs will remain reserved for 30 minutes after the booked time. However, after that they will be available for other visitors if they require them.

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