Wilder’s Folly, near Sulhamstead, is a little ruin that sits on an open field above Nunhide and is a popular location for many photographers. If you’ve lived in Reading a while you may have heard it being called ‘The Pigeon Tower’. But whatever name you give it, what’s special is the enchanting story that sit’s behind it.
It was built in the 18th century by Henry Wilder when he was courting Joan Thoyts and positioned in such a way that both could see it from their own homes. You can still see Sulham House through the south arch of Wilder’s Folly looking north. The couple later married in 1769 and had 11 children so this grand love gesture obviously did the trick!
The windows have now been bricked up and the tower is a dovecote with a few nest boxes built into the brickwork at the top. But to my kids Wilder’s Folly is the ‘little castle on the hill’ where they get to pretend they’re kings and queens. It’s also the perfect spot for a picnic so make sure to pack some food fit for royalty!
The path leading up to Wilder’s Folly takes you through Harefield Copse. If you time your visit in spring you’ll be presented with a carpet of beautiful Bluebells mixed among the trees. This makes the walk up to the folly that extra bit more magical.
This is one of our favourite family walks and one we try and time around golden hour in hope of an epic sunset. The best place to park is on Little Heath Road near Little Heath Skate Park. From here walk up to Pincents Lane where you will see a narrow path on your right labelled Harefield Copse on Google Maps. Follow this all the way until you see Wilder’s Folly appear on the top of the hill.
There’s lots of other family friendly Berkshire walks on the blog, but 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
Wilder’s Folly Map
Parking: Tilehurst Skatepark, Little Heath Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG31 5TQ