Exploring the Commons
Exploring the Commons
The old Fireplane from the Common’s days as an airbase is still in situ in the south east corner of the Common, and the Control Tower is now a Visitor Centre with a café open at selected times from Thursday through to Sunday. Some of the original air base buildings remain on the adjoining Business Park. Look out for Dartford Warblers amongst the many birds which live on or migrate to the Common. The ponds on the Common are also home to both birds and other wildlife. Seasonal workers from Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) run events to meet and guide visitors, explaining about the habitats and fauna of the Commons.
The main tracks on the Common are level and accessible for those with limited walking ability. They will also suit off-road mobility scooters. There are other waymarked routes which cross varying terrain, and there are some steps, and bridle gates on most entrances. Maps and guides for Wild Walks can be downloaded:
There are no black top paths as these are not in keeping with the natural beauty of the commons, so tracks are in natural hoggin (gravel and clay) and are maintained by grading and rolling annually. Please respect walkers and dogs on leads when using cycle tracks.
Please do not leave litter on the Commons, this is dangerous for animals, and unsightly for other users. If litter bins are full, take your litter home.
Keep dogs on leads during the period 1st March to 31st July, and please keep them under control at all times, especially near livestock. Please clean up after your dog and if dog waste bins are full, take dog waste home. Please note, commercial dog walking is in breach of the Byelaws.
Horse riders are welcome to enjoy the Commons. Please remember to keep to the paths in order to protect the sensitive habitat and reduce disturbance to ground nesting birds.
Cattle with young calves should not be approached in early spring. Keep dogs away from cattle at all times.
A herd of fully feral Exmoor ponies grazes the common. These animals are valuable in keeping down some of the tougher plants such as brambles and gorse. Keep dogs away from ponies at all times.
Occasionally it’s necessary to erect temporary fences to restrict cattle or visitors to specific areas, to protect selected areas for wildlife conservation work, to store temporary feed and similar reasons. Please respect all fencing, and obey posted information.