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West Woodhay

This rural area nestling beneath the downs on the borders of Hampshire and Berkshire has a diverse mix of parkland, woods, permanent pasture and arable fields, and a scattering of old farms and cottages. There are many footpaths and bridleways which cut across these habitats, and one can always find something of interest at any time of year. All three of our woodpeckers breed here although Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers are increasingly hard to find. In the old oak and ash trees of the parkland and woods are nesting Tawny and Little Owl, and Barn Owls can be seen quartering the fields. Buzzard and Kestrel breed in the woods, and Red Kite numbers have increased greatly.

Winter brings large flocks of thrushes feeding in the hedgerows and fields, and sometimes Lapwing and Golden Plover gather on the open ground. The damp meadows and woods attract Siskin and Redpoll, and Woodcock can be seen roding on late summer evenings. In cold spells West Woodhay lake can hold good numbers of Tufted Duck and Teal. Parking is not a problem, but a good tip is to park at the Crown and Garter pub near Inkpen Common and walk down the track towards West Woodhay House, taking a circular route on footpaths and ending up back for lunch or supper at the pub. OS Explorer 158 is a must!

Grid Reference: SUSU3862-3, 3962-3

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