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Greenham and Crookham Commons

The restoration in the 1990s of the Greenham Common airbase to create a 500 hectare nature reserve is one of the great conservation successes of Berkshire.  The site, a SSSI, is largely heathland  with extensive areas of sparsely vegetated ground on which Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover and Lapwing breed. Gorse alongside the old runways provides breeding sites for Dartford Warblers and several other scarce Berkshire species breed on the reserve. Near the control tower and on Crookham Common there are pools that attract Shelduck and migrant waders, including, in 2011, a Pectoral Sandpiper. The adjacent Bowdown Woods to the north is predominantly attractive mature Oak woodland, with a carpet of Bluebells in Spring. The whole area is managed by BBOWT. CS GREENHAM

Access: Crookham Common, centred at SU 523 643, is encircled by narrow lanes, with parking at SU 533 646 off the Brimpton-Bishop Green Road. Greenham Common to the west has footpath entrances at Burys Bank Road on the northern edge of the Common, but most visitors park at the Control Tower car-park (SU 500 650 – check for closing times) or at Burys Bank car-park at the western end (SU 484 653) which often fills at weekends. Footpaths include the 2 km long Taxiway Walk. Summer wardens direct visitors away from sensitive breeding birds, by asking them to keep to the main paths between 1st March and 31st July. Early morning is often the best time here.