Best bluebell walks in Berks
Blooming 'eck! The bluebells are breaking cover in Berkshire. Here's where to find the best of them on your sprightly springtime walk.
Spring is in the air, and isn’t it gorgeous! If youre Barmy about bluebells? April through to May is the best time to see carpets of blue in Berkshire’s woodlands – and there are loads of options to get your fix. Here are 15 of the best hotspots to visit now.
Sulham Wood, Tidmarsh
Sulham Wood and meadow is always a good spot for stroll, no matter what time of the year – but the bluebells are a big draw. There are plenty of trails, with a mix of open countryside and woodland to enjoy and the area is awash with bluebells at the end of April. Start your walk from Sulham village or Tidmarsh, parking is available on Sulham Hill Road
Cliveden House, Taplow
We say Berkshire (*ahem* some say Buckinghamshire), but who cares, right? We can share the border and the beautiful Cliveden with our county neighbours. Particularly as there is more than enough it to go around. Enjoy miles of woodland paths and the carpet of bluebells on the woodland floor. The many paths mean that the flowers don’t get trampled and you get the full effect regardless of the many visitors. Booking is essential.
Basildon Park, Lower Basildon
Enjoy Basildon Park‘s film star good looks with a bluebell bonus. Ask at the visitor centre for the best places to spot them around the grounds. There are number of walks you can enjoy of varying lengths. So if you have little Mudders the National Trust staff will tell you the best routes to take. You’ll need to book.
Pope’s Meadow, Binfield
Pope’s Meadow, named after Binfield’s most famous resident – the 18th-century poet and philosopher Alexander Pope – is a Green Flag Award-winning site and has a small wooded copse full of bluebells. You never know, it might even inspire you to write poetry too. At Binfield Road in Bracknell are The Three Copses (Temple Copse, Tinker’s Copse and Jock’s Copse) – hazel coppice woodlands full of bluebells with a handy circular walk through them.
Moor Copse, Tidmarsh
Sandwiched between Theale and Pangbourne, Moor Copse is an area of tranquil woodland surround by a patchwork of meadows and pastures set in the heart of the Pang Valley. No guided walks again this year, but you’ll see bluebells, early purple orchids and cowslips at their very best. It’s a two-mile stroll, but the paths can get a bit muddy in places.
Bowdown Woods, Newbury
Just south of Newbury is Bowdown Woods, a magical ancient wood that stretches from the vast heathland at Greenham Common down to the River Kennet and is full of hidden valleys, sunny glades and patches of heathland with bluebells at every turn. The Wildlife Walk takes in some damp clay areas on the lower slopes and steep climb up to the higher, drier ground.
Bisham Woods, Cookham Dean
Marlow shmarlow, is its glossy neighbour, but the riverside village of Bisham has bragging rights too. The historic Bisham Abbey – now home to Team GB hockey, was once used to jail Queen Elizabeth of Scots and was later given to Anne of Cleves by Henry the VIII in the divorce settlement. Over the road is Bisham Woods is rolling out the blue carpet. Walk in the footsteps of royalty among the bluebells and wildflowers found in this ancient woodland. There are 400 acres to explore and many circular routes.
West Woods, Marlborough
Bit of a hidden gem and a little off the beaten track… largely because it’s in Wilts. Eek. I know, I’m playing fast and loose with the county lines, but in fairness, West Wood is pretty bluebell stroll through an ancient woodland. It’s down an unnamed road, so pop postcode SN8 4DY in your satnav. There are several walking trails including an easy access route.
Warburg Nature Reserve, Henley
If you live near to Warburg Nature Reserve in Henley, you’re in for a treat. The reserve is carpeted in bluebells and wildflowers at this time of the year. The perfect antidote to lockdown life.
Rushell Farm, Stanford Dingley
Every year Rushell Farm opens up its woodland for beautiful bluebell walks in aid of Reading MS Society. The spring strolls start from the impressive Rushall Manor and take you on a variety of walks on ‘permitted paths’ that vary in length from a dedicated five miles down to a short, ‘wheelchair friendly’ circuit.
Ferneygrove Farm, Bracknell
Fernygrove Farm‘s usually open their ancient bluebell woods to the public from mid-April (10am-3pm). Drift around the sea of blue in your own time – it takes about 45mins to walk around. It’s a bit rough and uneven in places not particularly suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs. Due to Covid, the bluebell walks will not open this year, so pop it on your list for 2022.
Also worth visiting: Chazey Wood, within the Mapledurham estate. Highwood, Woodley with its mixture of lowland woodland and heathland which used to be part of the grounds of Woodley Lodge. The Coombe, Streatley, has an abundance of bluebells in the spring. Clayfield Copse, Caversham has a lovely woodland walk suitable for buggies and wheelchairs.
Every year when I write about bluebell hotspots I receive a flurry of messages about the ones I’ve forgotten. Have I finally nailed a comprehensive list this year, I wonder? Please let me know in the comments if there are any omissions!