The National Trust has cared for Simon’s Wood at Finchampstead Ridges for over 100 years and is one of their oldest acquisitions. Finchampstead Ridges was purchased by the local community in 1913 and donated to the National Trust so its spectacular views across the Blackwater Valley could be enjoyed by future generations. They really are breathtaking especially at sunset!
Check out the Friends of Finchampstead Ridges website to see how the local community continue to protect the site. If you’re interested in volunteering you can also register your interest on the website. I’ve volunteered at Simon’s Wood a number of times and really enjoyed the experience. The National Trust rangers are so knowledgeable about the local area and I’ve always been amazed by how much can be achieved in a day when we all work together.
There are three walks we’ve really enjoyed as a family:
- Simon’s Wood centenary walk is 2.1km
- Finchampstead Ridges woodland walk is 2 km
- Finchampstead Ridges and Blackwater Valley walk is 6.4 km
For nature photographers there’s a huge variety of wildlife but some of the most impressive are the dragonflies. The ponds and heathland provide the perfect habitat for these pretty insects. This is a great time to test out your macro photography but you’ll need plenty of patience and a quick shutter speed! To help get you started check out this article with 10 tips on how to shoot dragonflies.
My favourite spot for photos is the Ridges itself, with views as far as the Hogsback Ridge in Surrey. Pop the kids on the bench looking over the views and wait for sunset, you won’t be disappointed!
There’s lots of other family friendly Berkshire walks on the blog, here are some of my other favourites:
- Arborfield Cross Circular Walk With a Coffee Pitstop
- California Country Park Circular Walk, Finchampstead
- Donnington Castle Newbury 3.6 Mile Circular Walk
Simon’s Wood and Finchampstead Ridges Map
Address: Simon’s Wood car park, Wellingtonia Avenue, Finchampstead, Wokingham, Berkshire RG45 6AE