Paices Wood Country Park
This 35 hectare (86.5 acre) former gravel extraction site consists of extensive woodland, grassland and several lakes located in a narrow valley just outside Aldermaston.
Young Estates Ltd (formerly Young (Aldermaston) Developments (Ltd) have owned the land since 1961, when it was bought from Turner & Hunter, a timber company. At this time gravel was extracted from where the industrial estate now stands and other areas of the site. The avenue of lakes was created in order to supply water to the processing plant at the top of the valley, where the gravel was washed. The process of gravel washing leaves sediment that is then left to settle in a series of silt ponds.
At Paices Wood these were filled in and transformed into the car park. After gravel extraction finished in the early 1980s, the industrial estate was created and it was decided to develop the woodland and lakes into country parkland for the enjoyment of local communities. To this end, the Pang, Kennet & Lambourn Valleys Countryside Project (FWAG) and West Berkshire Council with funding from the Youngs and the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund, have created a footpath network through the woodland so that the site can be enjoyed and implemented a conservation programme to further enhance the park.
Paices Wood MapThe site's interesting background has created a diverse range of habitats: Coppice woodland, wet woodland, the avenue of lakes, wildlife pond, ridge and furrow landscape and lapwing area. Interpretation signs can be found around the park, which explain these important features and the wildlife you are likely to see. Two waymarked walks have been created to help you explore the park, as indicated on the map. The orange walk guides you around different features such as the lakes, woodland and amphibian area. The blue walk concentrates on woodland, ranging from alder coppice in the wet bottom of the valley to sweet chestnut and cherry trees further up the valley.
The park gates open and close at different times during the year. Please check the signs on entering the park for the closing times or check out the website by following the link on the right.
The lakes are stocked with carp, pike and other species. Tickets per rod, valid for one day's fishing, can be obtained from the bailiff.
Practical Tasks & Events
Practical conservation tasks and events are run in the parkland by the Kennet Valley Community Project. For further details, please contact the Pang, Kennet & Lambourn Valleys Countryside Project (FWAG) office on 0118 930 5336.
Paices Wood Country Parkland is accessed off the A340 south of Aldermaston. Follow the brown Country Park signs.