News of Our Group, and Relevant News for Our Members

Saturday 10 November 2018

Braywick Park & Local Footbridges


Nature Reserve Sign

Lots going on around Braywick park, plus two new footbridges in our area.

Braywick Nature Centre car park

Braywick Nature Centre

The car park on Hibbert Road is in use by the builders of the new Braywick Court school (ex Winbury School). Parking is still possible but there is less space and the entrance is now also the exit. Expect this to continue until September 2019

corridoor of construction fences

The Nature Centre is still accessible, but only down a narrow corridor between construction fences. Its garden has been destroyed but money is available to replaced the garden after the building work finishes in winter 2019.

Outside seating

The current view from the outside seating is a solid wall of blue barrier.

Dead end path

Braywick Park

Some paths are now dead ends - blocked by construction.

Building Site

Site preparation has commenced for the new leisure centre, with a 650-seater auditorium, 500-space car park, 10-lane swimming pool and 200-station gym. It will be sited to the south of Stafferton Lodge, including the area that was the golf centre. This is a replacement for the Magnet leisure centre in central Maidenhead and is due to open at the end of 2020.

Behind Stafferton Lodge and abutting the new leisure centre, various areas including the shooting range are now intended for the Forest Bridge special educational needs school. This wants to move from its current site in the old Oldfield School, Chiltern Road. The council approved the lease of the land and the school is awaiting planning permission.

To the north of Stafferton Lodge, plans for a new SportsAble disability sport centre seem to be on hold. The planning application was withdrawn over a year ago and there have been no recent announcements.

Volunteers

Maintenance of the park and nature reserve continues. Here volunteers from Wild Maidenhead and from Windsor and Maidenhead Conservation Volunteers assist RBWM Countryside Manager Jason Mills with the annual tidy-up of the pond at Braywick Nature Centre.

Elsewhere in the park, many of the trees have suffered stress during the hot, dry summer.

Wooden footbridge

At the north east corner of Braywick Park Nature Reserve there is a new footbridge across The Cut. This links the path along The Cut to Bray Road and enables access to Braywick Park from the new Oldfield School. Margret's Bridge was opened by the Prime Minister on 17/9/2018, after being delayed by the discovery of slow worms. It is named after Margret Bowdery MBE, a champion of walkers' rights and a founder member of East Berks Ramblers. Wheelchair accessible.

It is worth checking The Cut for wildlife, Teal often winter here. It is also important for young fish, hence the frequently seen kingfishers and herons.

Large building under construction

Braywick Area

Just to the north of Braywick Park Nature Reserve, work is well advanced on the new Desborough Bowling Club. As you can see, it is not designed to blend in with the surrounding trees. This greenbelt field would have made a nice addition to the nature reserve but the bowling club had to move here to allow development of its existing town centre site.

Builders van almost blocking the road

The Green Way is quite narrow here and construction traffic can make it difficult at times.

Row of tower blocks

Slightly more distant from the park and nature reserve, the area previously used as an Olympic park-and-ride is now filling with houses and flats as "The Loftings".

Next to this housing development on Vicus Way is the site for a new 500 place multi-storey car park, due to open 2020.

The only remaining bits of land at the north end of Braywick Park are the the allotments and the sewage works + civic amenity centre. It is no longer clear if these are to remain; no alternative sites for them have been suggested.

Map of Braywick area

A = to be Car Park
B = Loftings housing
C = Allotments
D = Bowling club
E = Margret's Bridge
F = Oldfield School
G = Sewage Works
H = to be Forest Bridge school
I = to be Leisure centre
J = Braywick Court school

Map © OpenStreetMap contributors

Ray Mill Island

A modern footbridge

At Boulter's Lock, Ray Mill Island has a new pedestrian bridge across the Thames to the Taplow Riverside housing development. The bridge was opened 2 Nov 2018 by the Prime Minister. It connects the charming Ray Mill Island Park (hungry ducks, aviaries, squirrels, river views) to the new housing, promised picnic areas and "Taplow Country Park" (currently bare earth, borders and paths, hopefully with grass, plants, ponds and trees to come).