Know before you go
Parking informationTake A327 south from Reading, 1.5 miles after Arborfield Garrison take a left into Park Lane, parking on right in layby north of Shepperlands Farmhouse. Or at western end of Nine Mile Ride, turn south into Park Lane, 0.25 miles to park in layby on left
Bridleway and paths, soft after rain, tree roots, kissing gates, rough ground in heath. No dogs in the fenced heathland.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitMarch to November
About the reserve
The small heathland glade was resurrected from pine plantation, and is developing into a valuable addition to this regionally significant habitat. In the summer the ground is carpeted in a haze of purple heather; while tucked away in sheltered sunny spots common lizards can be seen basking, and the lucky visitor might even spot an elusive adder. Regular effort is required to prevent pine and birch from colonising and shading the flowers and shrubs. Grazing is also essential to stop purple moor-grass from dominating.
There are some wonderful old oak trees scattered through the younger, straighter trees on the reserve. These trees and their decaying wood make homes for countless insects, as well as the woodpeckers and treecreepers and the hard-to-spot purple hairstreak butterfly. The woodland floor has low-lying areas filled with leaves and rotting timber, also adding to the diversity of insect life that thrives here. These are ideal spots for foxes and badgers to forage for worms amongst the leaf litter.
The small damp meadow is a rare wildlife survivor escaping the ravages of modern intensive farming. In spring and summer, wild flowers such as common bird's-foot-trefoil, buttercups, vetches and cuckooflower, create a paradise for butterflies and grasshoppers. Traditional management by cutting and grazing at the end of the long hot summer days ensures that the vigorous grasses are kept in check, allowing the delicate flowers to bloom.
A wonderful legacy
This wildlife-rich haven was saved, nurtured and passed on by Len and Marie Goodwin, who, amongst many amazing achievements, recognised just how special their corner of Berkshire was.