Reports, with Bird Lists, of our Meetings, Walks and Outings

Bowdown Woods and
Lower Farm Gravel Pit 2016
Wednesday morning walk

Date: Wednesday 21 September 2016 at 09:30


We started the morning walk at Lower Farm Gravel pit, twelve people on a fairly mild but rather overcast day. From the hide we had good views of the Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, many Grey Herons and at least ten Little Egrets, but not the Great White Egret that had been there in previous days. There were also Great Crested Grebe and Little Grebes in good numbers, Gadwall, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Snipe and Lapwings around the gravel pit.

After leaving the Lower Farm hide we returned to our cars and drove to Bowdown Woods where we did a circular walk of the old bomb site to see Nuthatch, Tree Creeper, Coal Tits and Blackcaps.

From Bowdown Woods we drove to Greenham Common where there were some light showers. In about an hour we saw Stonechat, Winchat, Dartford Warbler and Chiffchaff and also heard a Green Woodpecker.

The total number of species seen was 42 and one that was heard. Many thanks to Steve Williams for visiting these sites the previous week to find alternative parking as the Bowdown Wood car park was closed due to anti-social behaviour.

Click Here to see our photos from the trip


Lower Farm, Bowdown, Greenham, 21/9/2016, Overcast, rain

Mute Swan

Canada Goose






Tufted Duck


Little Egret

Grey Heron

Little Grebe

Great Crested Grebe





Common Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper


Black-headed Gull

Herring Gull

Wood Pigeon

Green Woodpecker (Heard)



Carrion Crow

Blue Tit

Great Tit

Coal Tit



Dartford Warbler





Song Thrush




Pied Wagtail


42 Bird Species seen plus 1 heard

Grey Squirrel

Dead Rabbits


12 People

---- Original Programme Information ----

Meet in the Lower Farm gravel pit car park by 9.30am. The car park is near RG14 5UG, at OS SU499662 Lat/Long: 51.3931,-1.2831

You can reach the car park in two ways. From the North via Hambridge Lane, or from the South from Bury's Bank Road. For either route we recommend leaving the M4 at junction 12 for Theale and taking the A4 west. This is to avoid the centre of Newbury.

To use the signposted route to the car park - from the B3421 drive east along Hambridge Lane, past all the industrial units, under the railway bridge and follow the brown "Bird Hide Car Park" signs.

For the southern route, from Cookham Hill, go 2.1 miles west along Bury's Bank Road to the small roundabout that gives access to "Greenham and Cookham Common". Make a complete 180 degree turn around the roundabout then after a fifth of a mile turn left up a track signed Footpath Only and Access by Authorised Vehicles Only. The car park is on the right after a bit more than half a mile.

Note for internet map users - Bing does not show the tracks, Google shows the southern track but shows a direct northern route that is actually blocked by a locked gate.

Click here for a map of the car park's location

A view of Lower Farm Lake

Lower Farm gravel pit is a popular birding spot with reed beds and scrub. Good for passage waders. Great White Egret may still be resident. One hide. No facilities.

Click here for information about Lower Farm gravel pit


Then it is back to the cars and a short drive to Bowdown Wood. We will use the Bomb Site car park. Very easy to find. Drive south from the gravel pit car park, turn left at the "T" junction onto Bury's Bank Road and after 300 yards turn left again up an un-signposted road, the car park entrance is 175 yards along.

Woodlands with path

Bowdown Woods is a BBOWT nature reserve forming part of the West Berkshire Living Landscape. This riverside woodland lies between Greenham Common to the South, and the river Kennet to the north. Under one mile circular walk mostly flat and surfaced. Woodland birds and reptiles. No facilities.

Click here for information about Bowden Woods reserve


Map of Greenham Common

Those with the time can then visit Greenham Common, as it is only two minutes away. Plenty of parking by the old control tower. Very large heathland site, around two miles long. Click here for the BBOWT guide

Click here for information about Greenham Birding

The nearest facilities to any of these locations are probably those in the retail park at the junction with the A339