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Outdoor excursions

Our outdoor excursions are normally held generally twice each month at a wide range of different locations. For around fifty years the society has arranged two kinds of excursion: field trips and Wednesday walks.

Field Trips

Field trips often go to a nature reserve with plenty of time to look at the specialities of the location. They are generally only a few miles in length and led by a knowledgeable naturalist. Some are targeted at a specific range of creatures: for example: birds, fungi moths or an aspect of natural history such as geology.

Wednesday walks

Our Wednesday walks are generally more informal than the field trips and of general natural history interest. From the earliest days this social occasion has ended with the option of a convivial pub lunch to end the morning exertions. Walks can be up to 4 ½ miles in length and so much of the time is spent walking. Details are published in the printed programme sent out to all members, the event calendar and the newsletter email. In the winter (October to March) we may need to change plans due to the weather and so we publish full details only a week in advance and at our evening meetings.

To see all our forthcoming excursions please see our outdoor programme or calendar of events

Here are reports on recent excursions. Click on the title to see the full report.

  • Sonning Common – 8 May 2024Sonning Common - 8 May 2024
    Fiona Cummins led a walk to Flowercroft Wood and back, starting from the Herb Farm at Sonning Common on Wednesday 8 May. It was a warm, sunny morning, particularly welcome after a long cold and wet spring.  The walk started out by turning left along busy Peppard Road, then turned right along the much quieter ...
  • Bowdown Woods – 27 April 2024Bowdown Woods - 27 April 2024
    Roger Dobbs led a walk round BBOWT’s Bowdown Woods reserve on the cold grey morning of Saturday 27 April. The reserve lies to the north of Greenham Common, where the land slopes steeply down to the valley of the River Kennet. The visit had been timed to catch Bluebell time at its peak and parts ...
  • The Coombes – 17 April 2024The Coombes - 17 April 2024
    Fiona Brown led a circular walk round The Coombes, an area of woodland between Arborfield, Barkham and Bearwood, on the morning of Wednesday 17 April. Starting point was the Bull at Barkham. There was a cold northerly wind, but apart from a brief hail shower at the beginning, the weather was mostly bright. Before the ...
  • Swain’s Wood – 6 April 2024Swain's Wood - 6 April 2024
    Sally Rankin led a walk to Swain’s Wood, a permit-only BBOWT reserve between Christmas Common and Turville Heath, on the afternoon of Saturday 6 April. The weather was warm and sunny, but with a strong south-westerly wind. A Kestrel flew overhead as members gathered around the village green at Northend, before setting off down Holloway ...
  • Mosses at Withymead – 23 March 2042Mosses at Withymead - 23 March 2042
    On the afternoon of Saturday 23 March, Sean O’Leary led a walk to look at mosses and liverworts at Withymead Nature Reserve, on the east bank of the Thames between Goring and South Stoke. The weather was cloudy but not particularly cold. This site has a variety of riverside habitats and a good total of ...
  • Pamber Forest – 13 March 2024Pamber Forest - 13 March 2024
    Jan Haseler led a walk through Pamber Forest, starting from the Impstone Road car park, on the dull grey morning of Wednesday 13 March. Following weeks of rain, the Forest was sodden, with deep mud in places. The walk started out southwards through Lord’s Wood. This area of woodland, together with the heathland to the ...
  • Sulham Woods – 21 February 2024Sulham Woods - 21 February 2024
    Rob Stallard led a circular walk, starting from the Cornwell Centre on the western boundary of Tilehurst, on the morning of Wednesday 21 February. The original plan had been to look at the veteran trees of Savernake Forest, near Marlborough, but a forecast of heavy rain and gale force wind gusts had convinced Rob that ...
  • Geology at Finchampstead Ridges – 3 February 2024Geology at Finchampstead Ridges - 3 February 2024
    Lesley Dunlop led a walk to look at the geology of Finchampstead Ridges on the morning of Saturday 3 February. The weather was cloudy but not particularly cold. The drumming of a woodpecker was heard as members gathered in the car park of the National Trust’s Simon’s Wood. Lesley explained that the bedrock below the ...
  • Earley – 17 January 2024Earley - 17 January 2024
    John Sharpe led a walk round Earley on 17 January. It was a cold morning, with the temperature just above freezing. Members met at Sol Joel park, next door to St Peter’s Church. John gave a brief history of the area and described its geology. It is the highest point in the area and lies ...
  • Trees of Whiteknights CampusTrees of Whiteknights Campus
    Marcus Wheeler led a very well attended walk to look at the trees of the Whiteknights campus of the University of Reading on Saturday 6 January. It was a cold grey morning, but after days of torrential rain and storm-force winds, the wind had dropped and the rain had ceased. The walk started from near ...
  • Maidensgrove – 13 December 2023Maidensgrove - 13 December 2023
    On the morning of Wednesday 13 December, Sally Rankin led a circular walk which started from the 5 Horseshoes pub at Maidensgrove. After weeks of rain, frequently heavy, the ground was saturated, although there was only occasional drizzle during the walk. It felt cold, with a strong northerly wind and a temperature of 6C. As ...
  • Otmoor – 2 December 2023Otmoor - 2 December 2023
    Alan Parfitt led a walk at Otmoor on the morning of Saturday 2 December. It was a cold foggy day with the temperature well below zero – there would be no distant views across the wetlands. Adjacent to the car park is a field where scrub had been allowed to develop and where there were ...
  • Fungi at Padworth Common – 18 November 2023Fungi at Padworth Common - 18 November 2023
    Mike Harrison led a fungus identification walk at Padworth Common on the morning of Saturday 18 November. The Common is managed by BBOWT, the local Wildlife Trust. Previous forecasts had been pessimistic about the amount of rain which was expected, but apart from a little light drizzle, the morning was mostly dry and surprisingly mild. ...
  • Woodcote – 15 November 2023Woodcote - 15 November 2023
    Rob Stallard led a walk around Woodcote on the morning of Wednesday 15 November, starting from the Highwayman at Exlade Street, between Woodcote and Checkendon. It was a beautiful sunny morning, following copious amounts of rain on the preceding days. Redwings were heard while the group were gathering. Turning left out of the car park, ...
  • Turville – 25 October 2023Turville - 25 October 2023
    Inge Beck led a walk on the morning of Wednesday 25 October which started near the church in Turville. Following prolonged overnight rain, the walk began in damp, grey weather conditions, but ended in glorious sunshine which emphasised the first of the autumn colour which was beginning to appear in the woods and hedgerows. The ...
  • Moor Copse, Tidmarsh – 15 October 2023Moor Copse, Tidmarsh - 15 October 2023
    Jan Haseler led a walk at BBOWT’s Moor Copse reserve near Tidmarsh on the afternoon of Sunday 15 October. It was a day of bright sunshine but with a cool breeze. The walk started out southwards along the lane towards the road bridge over the River Pang, pausing after a short distance to inspect the ...
  • Burnham Beeches – 30 September 2023Burnham Beeches - 30 September 2023
    Jim Wills led a walk round Burnham Beeches on the morning of Saturday 30 September. The underlying geology of the site is Chalk, which is almost entirely covered by the Sands and Clays of the Lambeth Beds. These are capped in turn over much of the site by Thames Gravels. Members and friends met at ...
  • Swallowfield – 20 September 2023Swallowfield - 20 September 2023
    On the morning of Wednesday 20 September, Fiona Brown led a circular walk which started from the car park of the George and Dragon pub at Swallowfield. The weather forecast had threatened rain from 11am but the serious rain did not actually start until about 1pm, when the walk was almost over. The walk started ...
  • Aldermaston Gravel Pits – 9 September 2023Aldermaston Gravel Pits - 9 September 2023
    Graham Steven of Natural England led a walk round Aldermaston Gravel Pits, a new venue for the Society, on the morning of Saturday 9 September. There is no public access to the site, which is kept locked. Much of the site, which abuts the Kennet and Avon Canal, was formerly occupied by gravel pits. The ...
  • Mothing at Tolhurst Organic – 19/20 August 2023Mothing at Tolhurst Organic - 19/20 August 2023
    Norman Hall and Paul Black ran moth traps overnight in two fields of Tolhurst Organics on the night of 19 – 20 August 2023. The farm produces stock-free organic vegetables in two fields of the Hardwick Estate, to the east of Whitchurch-on-Thames. It was the first farm in the world to be classified as stock-free ...
  • South Stoke – 16 August 2023South Stoke - 16 August 2023
    Fiona Cummins led a walk from South Stoke on the morning of Wednesday 16th August, starting from the car park of the Perch and Pike. Regrettably the pub had closed a few weeks earlier. The walk started out northwards, along a footpath between two houses, passing Elder bushes which already carried their crop of shiny ...
  • Hazeley Heath – 6 August 2023
    Julia Cooper and Ian Duddle led a walk at Hazeley Heath near Hartley Wintney on Sunday 6 August.
  • Mortimer – Saturday 29 July 2023Mortimer - Saturday 29 July 2023
    Jan Haseler led a walk through the conifer plantations of the Englefield Estate, to the west of Mortimer on the Hampshire / Berkshire border, on the morning of Saturday 29 July. Target species was the Grayling butterfly. It is one of Britain’s fastest declining butterflies and has recently been upgraded to Endangered on the British ...
  • Lambourn – 19 July 2023
    Rob Stallard led a walk at Lambourn on the morning of Wednesday 19 July.
  • Tidgrove Warren Farm near Overton – 16 July 2023Tidgrove Warren Farm near Overton - 16 July 2023
    The field trip on the afternoon of Sunday 16 July was at Tidgrove Warren, south of Kingsclere, by kind invitation of Raleigh Place. It was a site which the Society had visited 5 years previously, in 2018. The estate is managed sympathetically for wildlife. It first entered the scheme for ‘Set-aside’ in1990, before signing up ...
  • Riseley – 21 June 2023Riseley - 21 June 2023
    Cathy Harris led a walk to the Wellesley Water Meadow SANG on the morning of Wednesday 21 June, starting from Riseley Memorial Hall car park. A SANG is a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace which provides a place for dog walking and for the general public to walk. Any development within 5km of the Thames Basin ...
  • Asham Meads and Woodsides MeadowAsham Meads and Woodsides Meadow
    Sally Rankin led an all-day visit to two Oxfordshire meadow reserves of the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) on Saturday 18 June. First destination was Asham Meads, near Murcott on the east side of the RSPB’s Otmoor Reserve. The walk started out anti-clockwise round Lower Marsh Field. The meadow was full of flowers, ...
  • Beacon Hill, 10 June 2023Beacon Hill, 10 June 2023
    Rob Stallard led a walk at Beacon Hill, south of Newbury and next to the busy A34, on the morning of Saturday 10 June. It was a hot day, with the temperature rising to nearly 30C. It was the Society’s first visit to Beacon Hill since 1981. The site is an Iron Age hill fort ...
  • Hartslock – 24 May 2023Hartslock - 24 May 2023
    Jan Haseler led a walk to BBOWT’s Hartslock reserve on Wednesday 24 May, on a warm sunny morning with a cloudless blue sky. Starting from the south-east end of Manor Road in Goring, the route started out along a footpath which led down to the River Thames. Tall Hemlock plants were growing in the adjacent ...
  • Ibstone – 13 May 2023Ibstone - 13 May 2023
    Inge Beck led a circular walk around the village of Ibstone on Saturday 13 May. It was a cold morning with a brisk northerly wind, but fortunately most of the walk was in sheltered woodland. Meeting point was the road verge next to Ibstone Common. After a short stretch along the road, the route led ...