West Berkshire Family Life

four outdoor adventures around newbury for families

Please check and follow the latest government guidelines before planning any family adventures

By Anna Bilton

There are few better ways to spend time together as family than by getting active out in nature. Getting outside and moving is not only good for our physical health, it is beneficial for our mental wellbeing too. Luckily in West Berkshire we have a lot of fantastic places to explore, right here on our doorstep. 

Here are 4 great places to walk, bike and play with children of all ages in and around Newbury. Each spot is free to enter, has a car park closeby and offers endless opportunities to have fun together outdoors. 

Greenham Common

This is a huge open area with potential for all kinds of outdoor activities on the south side of town. It’s a perfect place for walking, running, cycling and horseback riding. There are woodland paths on the outskirts of the common, wide open spaces to run free in the middle and well-maintained gravel paths that travel between the two. You are likely to see grazing cattle and ponies along the way, which most children enjoy. 

As an added bonus, there is a cafe in the base of the control tower, just check the opening times here first if you are planning a visit. It is arguably the best destination for puddle jumping around and it does tend to be less muddy than the other walking areas on this list, as long as you stay on the main walkways. It can feel especially chilly on a windy day here because it is quite exposed to the elements, so it’s worth bringing an extra layer with you.  

Buggy friendly: Yes, on the main walkways

Bike friendly: Yes

Dog walking: Yes

Toilets and baby change: No, although the cafe does when it is open.

Parking information: There are two car parks, the smaller one is at the intersection of Pyle Hill and Pinchington Lane and the larger one is around 1.5 miles further along Burys Bank Road, to get there follow the signs for the Control Tower. 

Address: 

Burys Bank Road

Thatcham

Berkshire

RG19 8DB (nearest to Control Tower car park)

Website: https://www.bbowt.org.uk/nature-reserves/greenham-and-crookham-commons 

Greenham Common

Bowdown Woods

These woods are right opposite Greenham Common and yet feel like another world entirely because the landscape is much different. Bowdown Woods is full of tree-lined footpaths to explore with your family. There are some wide, flat semi-paved paths near the entrance that loop around as well as plenty of side paths that drop down into valleys and pop back up again. Children delight in running over bridges and wading through streams as they navigate their way around. Wellies are a must!

There are marked routes that you can follow, but they can get a little bit confusing. If you do get turned around, fear not, as long as you don’t leave the fenced in woodland and keep walking, you will end up back where you started. This is the beauty of walking here really, it’s the perfect mini adventure for families to “get lost”. 

It’s well worth planning a walk to these woods in the spring for bluebell season, you will not be disappointed!

Buggy friendly: Not really after the first few minutes

Bike friendly: No

Dog walking: Yes, on a lead.

Toilets and baby change: No

Parking information: The car park is not signposted and is tricky to see from the road. When driving from Newbury, follow the signs for the Greenham Common Control Tower along Burys Bank Road, then continue straight past the tower car park entrance. After you drive over a cattle grid take the second road on your left and follow it down to the car park. 

Address: 

Bowdown Woods

2 1/2 miles south-east of Newbury

Berkshire

RG19 8DA

Website: https://www.bbowt.org.uk/nature-reserves/bowdown-woods 

Bowdown Woods

Speen Moors Circular Walk

This is a brilliant 3km walk that is within spitting distance of Newbury town centre. The whole route is flat and takes in sections of canal, farm fields and wetlands – ideal for inquisitive children to get their fix of nature. There are usually sheep and cows grazing nearby as well as lots of birds to spy by the water.

It’s a good idea to begin your first walk at Goldwell Park since it is easy to find, however the walk can be started at any point on the map. There is a basic map here and there are information boards about the history and wildlife of the area along the way. 

Buggy friendly: Yes, it can be bumpy and muddy in places.

Bike friendly: Partially

Dog walking friendly: Yes, on a lead.

Toilets and baby change: No

Parking information: The best place to park for this walk is at the Goldwell Park Car Park. 

Address (for pay and display car park): 

Goldwell Park Car Park

Newbury 

Berkshire

RG14 1RS

Speen Moors

Snelsmore Common

This option takes you to the north side of Newbury and is another excellent family friendly walking spot. Snelsmore Common has a paved, accessible central path for wheelchairs and buggies and lots of smaller paths for young ramblers to hike. Look out for grazing ponies and set your children the challenge of finding the viewing tower, it’s closed for public access but makes a good landmark.

On top of the plentiful walking opportunities, the common has a few grassy spaces near the car park that are just right for picnics, plus there are some fixed barbeques available to use on a first come, first served basis. There is enough here to keep the whole family busy all day, particularly when the sun is shining! There is also a small cafe by the entrance where you can pick up a treat, check the opening times here

Buggy friendly: Yes, on a central loop.

Bike friendly: Partially

Dog walking friendly: Yes, off-lead in marked areas only.

Toilets and baby change: Yes

Parking information: The car park has several sections that all access the same area so don’t worry about which spot you choose. It can get busy on weekends, especially in the mornings. 

Address: 

Snelsmore Common

Wantage Road

Berkshire

RG14 3BQ (nearest, Mary Hare School opposite)

Website: https://www.bbowt.org.uk/nature-reserves/snelsmore-common-country-park 

Snelsmore Common

These 4 lovely areas are well worth a visit to spend meaningful time with your family outside. Happy adventuring! 

Of course, there are quite a few more to choose from in our beautiful neck of the woods. Here are some more ideas for local family walks with links for more information:

Grimsbury Woods

Donnington Castle

Padworth Common

And just over the border in Hampshire:

The Chase

Great Penwood

Beacon Hill

Newtown Common

Anna Bilton is a Copywriter and Content Writer based in Newbury at Bilton Copy. She’s also a mum of two and together with her husband and border collie, is on a mission to spend as much time outside as possible. Anna can usually be found either writing or walking in the woods!

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