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Bowdown Woods

Mysterious hidden valleys, sunny glades and patches of heathland, a natural playground for you to explore all year round.

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 Wildlife 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.

Bowdown walk

Silver-washed fritillaryThis 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.

Baynes walk

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.


Take a virtual tour of Bowdown Woods with The Mammal Next Door.

Reserve champions - supporting their favourite reserve

NatureBureau: "Peaceful and magical - a wildlife-rich mosaic of woodland, heathland and meadow."

How to get here

Download a route map and directions

Things to do

  • 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.
  • Explore part of the West Berkshire Living Landscape on Wild Walk One. This 6-mile circular walk takes in Bowdown Woods reserve. Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 158 1:25,000 scale, covers the area of this walk. 
  • 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

Bowdown Berries, by Rob Oliver

This photograph, Bowdown Berries, was taken in Bowdown Woods by BBOWT supporter Rob Oliver, and was awarded first place in the 'Your View' category of the Landscape Photographer of the Year 2014.  

Share your photographs of Bowdown Woods with us! Just add them to our BBOWT flickr group, and tag them with 'Bowdown Woods'.

Nearby nature reserves

Greenham and Crookham Commons
0 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
The Nature Discovery Centre
1 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
Thatcham Reedbeds
1 miles - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Reserve information

Bowdown Woods
2 1/2 miles south-east of Newbury
RG19 8DB
Map reference
Great for...
a family day out
ancient trees
getting away from it all
lichens and mosses
spring flowers
Best time to visit
Jan - Dec
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
54.50 hectares
Living Landscape schemes
West Berkshire Living Landscape
Bomb Site flat and surfaced - good for less mobile visitors
Walking information
Variable; Bomb Site flat and surfaced; Bowdown gentle slopes, soft after rain; Baynes steep slopes, uneven underfoot, long flight of steps
Two carparks for different parts of the reserve can be accessed from Bury's Bank Road as you head east from Greenham. For the Bomb Site car park, go straight over the small roundabout for the Greenham control tower car park, cross a cattle grid and then take the next track to the left. For Baynes continue another mile on Bury's Bank Road, then take track to left signed 'The Old Thatched Lodge.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Tel: 01628 829574

Smartphone Safari

Every weekend on BBC Radio Berkshire and BBC Radio Oxford we broadcast a Smartphone Safari. Listen along as we explore some of our fantastic reserves and introduce you to the wildlife you can see.