Bell heather

Mark Hamblin / 2020VISION

Bucklebury Common is one of the largest commons in Berkshire and home to a rich variety of wildlife.

Location

Bucklebury Common lies either side of
Upper Bucklebury, 1.5 miles northeast of Thatcham
Berkshire
RG7 6QH
A static map of Bucklebury Common

Know before you go

Size
345 hectares

Entry fee

no

Parking information

There is a small car park immediately on the left as you drive into Briff Lane (GR: SU 537688); there are other car parks on Fanny’s Lane (SU 534693), Cox’s Lane junction (SU 547687) and Angel’s corner (SU 550688)

Walking trails

The common is well served by public rights of way and tracks making it suitable for exploring on foot, horseback and cycle.

Access

Paths are variable, those on the main plateau are largely flat and even but can become muddy after heavy rain, paths heading north or south off the plateau are steeper but offer wonderful views across the surrounding countryside.

Dogs

On a lead
During the breeding season help us to protect ground nesting birds: From 1 March - 31 July please keep all dogs on leads and keep to the paths to avoid disturbing birds nesting on the ground.

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

All year round

About the reserve

The common is privately owned by Bucklebury Estate but there is public access for walkers, horse riders and cyclists on an extensive network of public rights of way. Bucklebury Estate manages the common with support from Bucklebury Heathland Conservation Group, a volunteer group carrying out important conservation work to restore the heathland. BBOWT supports other aspects of site management, including attendance at Advisory Committee meetings. West Berkshire Council are responsible for footpath, bridleway and byway management and enforcement and publication of the bylaws.

Habitats

The common is mainly broadleaved woodland of oak, ash and beech with younger areas of birch and large areas of heathland. There is also an old avenue of oaks at Chapel Row which are over 400 years old and planted in the late 16th century to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth I.

Heathland

Bucklebury Common was one of many open, wild and windswept heaths up until the early 20th century when many commoners grazed sheep and cattle on the heather and cut gorse for fuel. When these practices stopped birch recolonised the area and the landscape changed. Today work is being undertaken to restore parts of the heathland by removing invasive bracken, birch and pine trees. This will allow rare and uncommon species such as the nightjar and woodlark to flourish.

Things to do

Bucklebury Heathland Conservation Group run conservation work parties and guided walks on the common, contact Tim Culley on 0118 971 4830 for details.

Contact us

Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Contact number: 01635 861678
Contact email: info@bbowt.org.uk