Best Nature Parks And Family Friendly Walks In Berkshire | Kidadl


Best Nature Parks And Family Friendly Walks In Berkshire

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There's so much to see in the county of Berkshire - so to make the most out of your day trip, take a look at this list of our favourite nature parks before you head off.

Berkshire is full of amazing places you can visit, and is right on the doorstep of London so is the perfect escape from UK city life.

Visitors may know this county best for its connections with the Royal Family, and also, the River Thames meandering along the northern edge. But, if you know Berkshire well, you will know that it also has so many sites of natural beauty that collectively make it an enjoyable and memorable destination to visit.

Maidenhead and Cookham Commons

This historic landscape full of natural beauty has been at the heart of the local community since it was taken over by the National Trust. At over 843 acres, the wide variety of landscapes offers the perfect escape to the countryside. From the Thames riverbank to woodlands and wildflower meadows, there's a lot to explore - and you'll find people doing so on foot, bike and horseback.

Where? Pinkneys Green, Pinkneys Drive, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 6QD, or Maidenhead train station (43 minutes from London).

Why? There are plenty of walks, of varying lengths - that include links to the Chiltern Loop and Thames Path. And you'll find many country pubs along the way! For families, it's a natural playground with plenty of space to run around, fly kites, build dens or simply walk the dog.

Amenities and facilities? Shops, restaurants, pubs and cafés in nearby Cookham.

Dogs welcome? Yes, they are!

Toilets? No toilets or disabled facilities available.

Relevant information: Please be mindful of ground-nesting birds and cattle grazing. Lots of locations for picnics across the Commons.

Buggy and wheelchair friendly? A mix of terrains but there are a few paths that will be suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

Maidenhead and Cookham Commons

Image © National Trust

Basildon Park

This National Trust estate was saved from demolition and lovingly revived. It is sat in 400 acres of historic parkland and gardens. The mature wooded parkland offers views of amazing seasonal colour, with spring bluebells, summer buttercups and autumn leaves.

Where? Lower Basildon, Reading, Berkshire, RG8 9NR, or Pangbourne train station (42 minutes from London).

Why? The landscape in Basildon Park has been carefully restored and developed to offer wonderful views, peaceful trails and picnic places, with areas for children to run and play. This is the perfect garden walk retreat for families wanting to immerse themselves in nature for the afternoon.

Amenities and facilities? Free parking. There is usually a shop that sells gifts and a plant sale area - which is currently closed, as well as a tearoom.

Amenities and facilities?

Dogs welcome? Dogs welcome - on leads only.

Toilets? There are toilets near the Visitor Reception and next to the mansion, including accessible toilets with baby changing facilities.

Relevant information: Bikes are not allowed as there are often cattle grazing in the area.

Buggy and wheelchair friendly? The ground is flat and grassy, so it is perfect for all pushchairs and wheelchairs, although not scooters.

Basildon Park

Image © National Trust

Windsor Great Park

This royal land is spread across 4800 acres of sweeping parkland, award-winning gardens, ancient woodland and forest trails that are just waiting to be explored by families who love long walks and beautiful views. Throughout the year, no matter whether you're with great-grandpa or you're younger cousin, there's always something to do. The main features of the vast space are: The Savill Garden, Virginia Water, The Valley Gardens and the Long Walk and Deer Park - which are all great to walk around.

Where? Windsor Great Park The Crown Estate Office, Windsor SL4 2HT, or Windsor train station (53 minutes from London).

Why? On your stroll, you will encounter historical monuments, ancient forests and stunning horticultural displays, as well as rare wildlife, plants and fungi - so whatever your interest, there will be something to excite and amaze you. People generally spend around 3 hours on average here, according to Trip Advisor.

Amenities and facilities? Bikes are allowed and there are a number of bike hire facilities in the local area, to explore further.

Dogs welcome? Dogs are allowed on leads.

Toilets? There are toilets and disabled toilets on site that are currently closed.

Relevant information: The park is open in daylight hours.

Buggy and wheelchair friendly? There is a mixture of flat grounds and smooth hills, meaning that there is a range of walks and bike rides available for different ages and abilities.

Windsor Great Park

Image © Visit Revisit

Keephatch Park Nature Reserve

This relatively small nature reserved is currently closed, however, it is definitely a must-see to walk around when it opens again. It has a lovely woodland area that is free for your family to stroll. The paths along the way are well maintained and you will also find some unusual trees to see along the way - including ones with low hanging branches that are perfect for kids and/or adults to climb.

Where? Wokingham, RG40 5PJ, or Wokingham train station (1 hour 12 minutes from London).

Why? If you love beautiful walks, this will suit you perfectly. It is quite small and cosy, so quick to walk but very rewarding - as it feels like walking through an enchanted woods. There are lots of squirrels in the woodland who are very friendly and will eat from your hands (according to reviews on Trip Advisor)!

Amenities and facilities? There is a free car park.

Dogs welcome? Dogs are allowed on leads.

Toilets? There are no toilets on-site, as it is a relatively small place.

Relevant information: The park is open in daylight hours.

Buggy and wheelchair friendly? The ground is well maintained although not particularly suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs unless they are all-terrain.

Keephatch Park Nature Reserve

Image © Friends of Keephatch Local Nature Reserve

Swinley Forest

The forest, which is spread across Bracknell and Surrey, is a large expanse of Crown Estate woodland. It is the perfect place to explore with young families, as the park offers peaceful and tranquil walks among the woods. It is also open all hours, meaning that it's a perfect spot to catch a sunset with a picnic.

Where? Crowthorne RG45 7EX, or Martins Heron railway station (1 hour 6 minutes from London).

Why? Mountain bikes are available for hire, if you don’t have your own, as there are several miles of mountain bike trails and nice straight paths for more leisurely cycling. The forest is also the home of Go Ape - however, this is currently closed. Trail wise it's great fun. There are a 1mile, 6.5mile and an 8.5mile course which are all different levels of difficulty, the lowest being easy with no real climbs.

Amenities and facilities? There is a car park which costs £2 to park for the day. There are also places on-site to get refreshments, once opened again.

Dogs welcome? Dogs are allowed.

Toilets? There are toilets and disabled toilets in the visitor centre, however, this is currently closed.

Relevant information: Bikes are allowed.

Buggy and wheelchair friendly? The forest's terrain varies across the expansive area, so there are appropriate walks for all ages, abilities and requirements.

Swinley Forest

Image © Diane Sambrook

Hambleden Lock

This is a stunning walk on the Berkshire banks of the River Thames, passing through a deer park and Hambleden Lock. This walk is a wonderful opportunity to get some outdoor exercise whilst enjoying varied landscapes from Remenham Wood to charming Culham Court Deer Park and stunning views of the River Thames. You’ll pass Culham Court on your way, which is a Georgian mansion that was built in 1771 and also Hambleden Lock, which was built in 1773.

Where? Henley-on-Thames, RG9 1AY, or Henley train station (1 hour 11 minutes from London).

Why? This is a relatively long walk - at 8 miles.

Amenities and facilities? You can stop for refreshments at a pub along the route, subject to it being opened.

Dogs welcome? Dogs are welcome as it is on public mixed-use land.

Toilets? There may be toilets along the way in pubs or public toilets.

Relevant information: This is a specific walk that someone has planned out, as opposed to an area to visit and explore. Please refer to their instructions for further information on accessibility etc.

Buggy and wheelchair friendly? The terrain is a little hilly to begin with but flattens out towards the river, and the whole route takes about 4 hours.

Hambleden Lock

Image © Motmit

Originally from Bournemouth, Annabelle spent her childhood travelling and exploring. She moved to Bahrain at the age of 13 and then to London at 19 where she attended Chelsea College of Arts, UAL. She loves all things creative - especially if they involve recycling materials, as this is what she is most passionate about. Aside from art, Annabelle also enjoys walking her dogs and cooking for friends and family.

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