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More West Berkshire nature sites open to all

Thursday 6th April 2017

West Berkshire nature reserves open to allDominic Boeck from West Berkshire Council joins BBOWT staff at Snelsmore Common. Pic: Wendy Tobitt

On Wednesday 5 April the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) celebrated the conclusion of a two year Access Improvement Project in West Berkshire, with members of the West Berkshire Ramblers and the local access forum, and West Berkshire councillors.

We couldn't have done this project without generous funding, invaluable help from the access forum, and sheer muscle-power from BBOWT’s volunteers

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.

Dominic Boeck, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Culture, Countryside and Green Issues said: “This is a marvellous achievement and a great example of what can be achieved by the strength of the collective.

“West Berkshire is blessed with stunning countryside, over 70% of which are Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We are committed to preserving these beautiful spaces and to ensuring that as many people as possible are able to access and enjoy them.”

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 waymarked routes, orientation panels, outdoor classroom area.

Alex Cruickshank, Senior Land Manager for Berkshire at BBOWT said: “One of the top priorities when West Berkshire Council gave us the management of the reserves and commons in October 2013 was to improve the many ways people can enjoy these wonderful sites.

“They are so special for wildlife that we wanted to make it as easy and safe as possible for more people to come here and enjoy walking, running, cycling and horse-riding. Many of the new tracks and trails are accessible for families with buggies and people using powered wheelchairs.”

He added: “We could not have done this project without the generous funding from these organisations, as well as the invaluable help and sheer muscle-power from BBOWT’s volunteers who did a great deal of the work clearing paths, making new tracks and installing gates.

“Before we started work we held a long consultation process with the West Berkshire Access Forum and many other organisations. We are very grateful to them all for their advice and guidance.”

Read more about BBOWT's nature reserves in the West Berkshire Living Landscape.