What's (been) happening..... 

    Another tidy up at Turgis Court Farm - 29th July 2020

    A group of the volunteers helped out again today at the Growing Places farm at Turgis Green to keep everything tidy. Plus, as it was Brian's birthday last Friday, Tea break was especially enjoyed with lovely homemade cupcakes courtesy of Brian's grandchildren.👍


    Simon's Wood Heath Pond repairs -  22nd July 2020

    Volunteers have continued to look after Simon's Wood and the Ridges to help keep it litter free and this week a group of volunteers helped repair the overflow outlet at Heath Pond in Simon's Wood along with National Trust Ranger Jamie Preston. It is hoped there will be more opportunities for small group working teams like this when all staff and volunteer training procedures have taken place.



    Volunteering at Growing Places Acorn Centre and Turgis Farm - June/July 2020  

    Whilst NT volunteering has been suspended due to the restrictions, the volunteers have been busy lending their skills to help tidy up and build new items at the Growing Places Acorn Centre in Wokingham and its growing area at Turgis Court Farm near Basingstoke. The work there has just about been completed so the volunteers are now looking forward to being able to get back to the Ridges and Simon's Wood as soon as possible.



    Keeping Simon's Wood Rubbish Free - May/June 2020

    Head Ranger Jamie and groups of volunteers have been keeping Simon's Wood and the Ridges rubbish free as much as possible with Fly tipping removal and regular litter picking. Given the increase of visitor numbers to both sites, litter has been relatively small (fly tipping aside) so good news there.


    Simon's Wood Car Park - 15th May 2020

    The National Trust has reopened Simon's Wood car park and parking at the Ridges today but would like to remind visitors to comply with the current Government restrictions on social distancing.


    Closure of Parking at the Ridges - 10th April 2020

    In addition to the closure of Simon's Wood car park, parking at the Ridges has also been closed to comply with Government restrictions to encourage the public to stay local and avoid unnecessary travel.


    Closure of Car Park at Simon's Wood - 28th March 2020

    Unfortunately Simon's Wood car park is closed for the foreseeable future. In these difficult times this was deemed to be the most sensible option.


    Opening Ceremony for the Ridges Ramble - 11th March 2020 

    As you may recall we have been working on the route and way marking for the ‘Ridges Ramble ‘ over the last twelve months. This required the construction of a boardwalk north of Spout Pond, the removal of various shrubbery to create and widen paths and the installation of the way markers. Also we were able to re-instate Ironstone pond and to create glades along the walk to reveal many hidden ancient trees. 
    This was completed in the latter part of 2019 and it was thought appropriate to ‘celebrate’ this event with an official ribbon cutting ceremony. After a few words from Ed and the FoFR committee, Roger Woof-Finchampstead Parish Council- chair of the Rights of Way committee cut the ribbon. Also attending and supporting the volunteer team was Katy Dagnall-Clerk to the Council. Finally a big thank you to NT Reading Volunteers for their financial support and of course the NT Ranger and volunteer team. 

    Simon's Wood Centenary Trail update - January 2020

    New Centenary Trail way markers are now in place. A map with trail information will be available shortly.

    Simon's Wood Path Closure - December 2019

    A path has been temporarily closed in Simon’s Wood to protect the growth of the rare Lesser Wintergreen Pyrola Minor plant. Lesser Wintergreen is a rare and very pretty plant that lives in damp upland conifer woods and grows to a height of only 5-15 cm. During June to August, it produces a flower stalk upon which grows a raceme of white flowers on all sides of the stalk rather than just on one side.

    We thank everyone for their support in this path closure with the hope that 2020 will produce an even better spread of the species.


    Boardwalk repairs - December 2019

    We have removed a very unsafe boardwalk just off the centenary trail near the Omega sign at the western perimeter of Simon's Wood. It will be replaced in due course, so in the meantime we would very much appreciate it if everyone could find alternative routes.

    We will be repairing several boardwalks early in 2020 so meanwhile please take care if unsure of the treads.


    Ambarrow work party - November 2019

    We were over at Ambarrow in November installing gravel boards for a re-directed path. The boards are approx 1.5m apart and provide a solid border for the aggregate infill which will be compacted for structure and durability. Further update on completion.


    Additional Volunteer work in October

    A group of Finchampstead Ridges volunteers recently paid a visit to the ‘Growing Places’ site in Wokingham to help recreate a garden for those in the community with learning disabilities. Managed to clear the site and leave a ‘clean slate’ for the next stage of development.


    October Update on 'Ridges Ramble' Launch 

    Final preparations have taken place regarding the 'Ridges Ramble' with way markers and new boardwalks installed. The official launch of the RR will be announced shortly so check back again soon for more information.


    Ambarrow Hill - August 2019

    Ambarrow Hill tends not get the recognition it deserves, but in August it was in receipt of a fantastic new seat and monolith via a collaboration by Bracknell Forrest Borough Council and the National Trust. On your next visit to Ambarrow Hill why not check these two out and take a well earned rest.


    July's Tidy up!

    With bonfires on hold due to the hot weather, it was down to strimming and brush cutting around the Giant Sequoia Redwoods and of course there was always Rhody bashing to be done!



    Heath Pool Bridge update - June 2019 

    Another repair of the footbridge by volunteers following the second bout of vandalism... fingers crossed it will be the last! 


    Finchampstead Ridges - Ironstone Pond - June 2019

    Clearance work took place on the Ridges last week to prepare another wetland area for wildlife in addition to Spout Pond.



    Heath Pool repair work - June 2019 

    Construction work at Heath Pool this week to help prevent further bank erosion. 



    Heath Pool Footbridge:  June 2019

    Sadly, the footbridge at the north end of Heath Pool at Simon's Wood has been vandalised for the second time. Both incidents have been reported to the police.


    Current Projects - May 2019

    The planned Boardwalk project by Spout Pond has now been installed. This will form part of the new 'Ridges Ramble'. This project has been kindly sponsored by Finchampstead Parish Council and the Finchampstead Society.    


    Ecology - Bird Nesting Season - March to November

    It is now the nesting season. This means that our work changes into careful removal of old Rhododendron stock as birds rarely nest in Rhododendron. We stay off the heathland because this habitat is ideal for ground nesting birds and we work on repair projects until Autumn when the birds leave. 

    We welcome everyone to all three sites but ask that dog walkers should try to keep their dogs away from the heathland to protect this vulnerable environment.


    Simon's Wood Car Park - March 2019
    Much needed repairs to the entrance and main car park was carried out in March. Damaged Scots Pine and Silver Birches have been removed as they were unsafe, large holes filled and compacted and fences repaired.


    Ridges Viewpoints

    Work continues to open up the viewpoints gradually returning them to the original sightlines on the main ridge and the lowers slopes. A new viewpoint on the western edge of the Ridges is well worth a visit.  



    We welcome corporate groups such as Salesforce and Dell who come along on work days to support the volunteers every month and their contribution is extremely valuable.

    If any corporate groups are looking to have a day volunteering then please get in touch via  our 'Contact us' page.