Sites of the season - summer
Places to spot wildlife
Bracknell Forest is lucky to have a wide range of habitats that support a large variety of plants and animals. The list below features sites that are known for being wildlife havens and would be good places to spot species including dragonflies, butterflies and bats.
Englemere Pond is a shallow acidic pond which offers a wide range of habitats from open water to marsh and a reedbed, which is one of the largest in Berkshire. A pond viewing platform makes a great place where you can spot wildlife including dragonflies, birds, and bats hunting at dusk. The site can be explored via 2 circular trails, which start and end at the car park.
Shepherd Meadows contains wildflower-rich meadows and woodlands and is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its nature conservation value. There are lovely walks to be had along the Blackwater River where you’ll likely see waterfowl such as ducks and moorhens. If you look carefully you might also spot dragonflies and damselflies darting across the water. Next door lies Sandhurst Memorial Park, which is a premier location for recreation in the borough. Wildlife can also be found in a balancing pond and in Seeby’s meadow and copse.
The Cut Countryside Corridor is a collection of countryside sites lie along The Cut which can be followed using a circular walking route.
At the Three Copses you can find species including hazel, oak and wild service tree. Coppicing the hazel allows light to reach the woodland floor and encourages a rich diversity of flowers and insects.
To the east lies Garth Meadows; on a clear day there are fine views from here looking south across the meadows and towards The Cut, which is home to birds including turtle doves, grey wagtails and insects such as orange tip butterflies
A bit further along is Larks Hill where you’ll find colourful floral displays of arable plants such as sweet clover, birds foot trefoil and red campion. These flowers help to attract wildlife like bees and butterflies and also bring nitrogen back into the soil.
To find out how you can help to improve and protect wildlife in the borough, visit our wildlife page.
Explore Bracknell’s Heritage Parks
Why not pack a picnic this summer and visit Lily Hill Park, which is home to England's longest picnic bench (carved from a single piece of wood)? There is plenty to explore at this historic site, including parkland, woodland, and formal gardens. There are many visual gems to be found including colourful wildflower meadows, rare rhododendrons, yew walks, mighty Wellingtonia and majestic oaks and a pretty Edwardian water garden, pond and ‘ha ha’.
South Hill Park contains a network of 4 waymarked trails for you to explore the site and re-live what it would have been like to walk around these magnificent grounds some 120 years ago. Keep an eye out for summer wildlife as you stroll past lakes and through woodland on the Wilde Wander. Admire sculptures and lake views on the Temple Trail. Pass down an Ash Avenue and over a reedbed on the Haversham Hike. See if you can spot the old pet cemetery in the Gladstone Glade.
Wildmoor Heath and Caesar’s Camp are very important sites for wildlife, being Sites of Special Scientific Interest and part of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area. Dominated by plants such as heathers, gorse and heathland grasses; these lowland heaths support a whole array of wildlife from golden ringed dragonflies, to rare birds such as Dartford Warblers, Nightjars and Woodlarks. Keep an eye out for bats which swoop in at dusk to feed on insects. Please take extra care not to disturb ground nesting birds by staying on designated paths and keeping your dog under close control (ideally on lead).