Know before you go
Parking informationSee below, in 'About the reserve' section.
1 mile Wildlife Walk at Bowdown, 0.75 mile Wildlife Walk at Bomb Site
Variable; Bomb Site flat and surfaced; Bowdown gentle slopes, soft after rain; Baynes steep slopes, uneven underfoot, long flight of steps
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitAll year round
About the reserve
1 mile east of Greenham on Burys Bank Road, as you head towards Thatcham. Go straight over the roundabout to the Control Tower, cross the first cattle grid onto the common then the Bomb Site car park is the next turning on the left (north). The car park is at the end of the track. Beware there is a height barrier with a 2m restriction.
There is a further small car park 1 mile to the east. Continue along Bury’s Bank Road then turn left (north) on the track signposted to numbers 90 and 92. The car park is at the end.
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. Reserve champions - supporting their favourite reserve NatureBureau: "Peaceful and magical - a wildlife-rich mosaic of woodland, heathland and meadow."
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.