Sunny glades, patches of heathland and hidden valleys in an ancient woodland
Bowdown Woods by Rob Appleby
Overlooking the Kennet Valley, Bowdown Woods is the Trust’s biggest woodland reserve in Berkshire – and for sheer variety of wildlife throughout the year, it's hard to beat.
A living landscape
Stretching from the vast heathland at Greenham Common down to the River Kennet, this reserve forms part of the West Berkshire Living Landscape, a Willdife Trust project to create space for wildlife and people together.
From bomb site to wildlife haven
The Bomb Site is so named because it was an ammunition store during and after the Second World War. It is a great example of how nature can thrive and develop on a site vacated by people. Many old surfaced tracks create a network through the young birch and oak woodland that has colonised the site. Try the 3/4 mile Wildlife Walk from the car park - it's on old surfaced tracks and ideal for less mobile visitors.
This magical dense ancient woodland gives views across the Kennet Valley. A clearing through the wood creates sunny areas where butterflies bask. Look out for the spectacular silver-washed fritillary and the handsome white admiral. The 1 mile Wildlife Walk takes in some damp clay areas on the lower slopes and steep climbs up to higher, drier ground.
This is the most secretive part of the wood. The dense ancient woodland here has lots of streams and some steep paths. The cool green is a lovely contrast to the open heathland areas. The 1 mile Wildlife Walk has some steep sections, steps and bridges.
- Try one of our circular Wildlife Walks (Bowdown Wood - 1 mile; Bomb Site - 3/4 mile; Baynes Wood - 1 mile). Just follow the badger waymarkers.
- Two West Berkshire Living Landscape Walk leaflets are available from our Wildlife Information Service.
- Look out for our seasonal guided walks.
- We run regular work parties on the reserve.
- Help us manage this reserve by supporting us
- Tweet your wildlife sightings to @bbowt
- Sign up to our e-newsletter
Your photographs of Bowdown Woods
Share your photographs of Chimney Meadows with us! Just add them to our BBOWT flickr group, and tag them with 'Bowdown Woods'.
Species and habitats
- Heathland, Woodland
- Fly Agaric, Bluebell, Early Purple Orchid, Foxglove, Gorse, Heather, Herb-Paris, Marsh-marigold, Opposite-leaved Golden-Saxifrage, Primrose, Yellow Archangel, Brown Argus, Silver-washed Fritillary, Small Copper, White Admiral, Common Frog, Adder, Common Lizard, Grass Snake, Slow-worm, Grayling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Sparrowhawk, Spotted Flycatcher, Woodcock, Brown Long-eared Bat, Dormouse, Pipistrelle, Roe Deer