Accessible reserves

Accessible reserves

Warburg Nature Reserve by Duncan Thatcher

Limited mobility needn’t mean missing out on nature. Find out which of our nature reserves are suitable for less-mobile visitors, either with a robust mobility scooter or a robust wheelchair and an assistant.

Two of our flagship nature reserves, Warburg Nature Reserve, Oxon, and College Lake, Bucks, have Trampers available to borrow free of charge. These allow anyone who has difficulty exploring our reserves by foot to discover the reserves. Please note you must be accompanied by someone over the age of 16 years old when using a Tramper.

If you would like more information about visiting any of our nature reserves, please contact our head office on 01865 775476 or info@bbowt.org.uk

Accessible reserves in Berkshire

Please see the orientation boards at the reserves for further access information.

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 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.

Accessible reserves in Bucks

Calvert Jubilee: Flat surfaced path to bird hide.

College Lake: 90% of the Wild Trail is surfaced and suitable for robust mobility scooters. Graham's Hide is accessible for wheelchairs. Accessible toilets and blue badge priority parking. Tramper available to hire, see below.

Upper Ray Meadows: Gallows Bridge Farm bird hides are accessible with a robust wheelchair.

Accessible reserves in Oxon

Chimney Meadows: Some paths are suitable for people with limited mobility. Hides have disabled access. Contact the office for more details or to arrange a visit. It is a large site and staff may be able to grant you access to areas that are not usually open to the public. Call 01367 870904.

Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre: Accessible toilets and blue badge priority parking. Note this is only open for prebooked events.

Warburg Nature Reserve: Accessible toilets and blue badge priority parking. Tramper available to hire, see below.

For many years I was very active, bird watching and countryside walking. With the onset of arthritis I found that although I was not able to cover the distances I used to. Using a Tramper allows me to accompany my husband on long walks. I am confident that it can cope with grass, mud and rough ground safely.
Tramper user

Find out more about hiring a Tramper

What is a Tramper?

A Tramper is an electric, four-wheeled scooter designed to transport physically disabled persons over sealed and unsealed surfaces. It can negotiate kerbs up to 125mm in height, and has been designed to be used on slopes not exceeding 1:4 up, down or sideways. There is a storage box at the front for your camera, binoculars or just a picnic! If you walk with the aid of a stick or crutches, there is a place to secure them to the back of the vehicle.

Why should I use a Tramper

The Tramper can deal with most types of terrain and it will allow you to visit areas of a reserve that otherwise might be inaccessible. You don’t have to be registered disabled to use one. Many people who, for whatever reason, find it difficult to walk long distances use our Trampers to get to places they would otherwise struggle to reach. Some people use the Tramper to continue a hobby, for instance wildlife photography that is becoming more difficult for them. If you think it’s not for you, think again and just try it! 

Can anyone use a Tramper?

We are unable to loan a Tramper to anyone that suffers from seizures or loss of consciousness or anyone who is on medication that would affect their ability to drive.

Will someone show me how to use the Tramper?

Yes. There will be a registration form to complete first so we have your contact details. Then a member of staff will give you a brief training session. This takes about 15 minutes and is only mandatory for your first time using the Tramper. You will receive a map of the reserve showing you which paths are suitable for the vehicle. And that’s it. You are free to explore the reserve.

Do I need to have someone with me as I explore the reserve?

Yes, you must be accompanied by someone over the age of 16 years old when using a Tramper. Please talk to a member of staff if you have any questions about this.

What if something goes wrong?

The Trampers are designed to be safe and easy to use. The battery will be charged before you take the vehicle out on the reserve. If you keep to the paths advised on the reserve map and drive the vehicle as you have been shown then it is unlikely that anything will go wrong. In the event of a puncture or breakdown, use your mobile phone or two-way radio (issued at Warburg Nature Reserve) to call staff and stay with the vehicle. A member of staff will come out to help you.

How do I book a Tramper?

Warburg Nature Reserve: Please phone 01491 642001 and speak to a member of staff or leave your name and telephone number on the answerphone. Alternatively email warburg@bbowt.org.uk. The Tramper can be used from 9am-5pm seven days a week but is subject to staff availability.

College Lake: Contact the Visitor Centre on 01442 826774 to make a booking. There are two Trampers available for use at College Lake.

 

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