The plateau that lies between the Kennet Valley and the chalk downs to the south. Encompasses all the acidic plateau sands and gravels. Includes some lower lying land along part of the Enbourne Valley and in the west near Wash Common.

Click here for the area map.

Joint Character Area: Thames Basin Heaths

Geology: The underlying geology in the London Clay formation which consists of mixed areas of clay, silt and sand as well as areas of sand. Overlying this especially in the east and centre of the area there are deposits of Head which consists of a mixture of clay, sand silt and gravel

Topography: This area is a relatively flat or gently rolling plateau with steeper slopes along the edge of the Kennet Valley and above Kintbury.


Heathland and acid grassland are found on the Head that overlies much of the western part of the area. Sites include Inkpen Common and areas within Hampstead Marshall Park, where some extensive flushes are also found.
Lowland meadow: Lowland meadow habitat is found at Inkpen Crocus Fields and in the west at Avery's Pightle. There are remnants of this habitat in a number of sites in this area, on the London Clay.
Parkland: The main area of parkland is found at Hampstead Marshall.
Woodland: This is the main habitat in this area. It includes a number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (Redhill Wood, Catmore & Winterly Copses, Irish Hill Copse and Enbourne Copse) and many Local Wildlife Sites.
Other habitats and species: There are a number of ponds in the area including the BBOWT reserve at Kintbury, which supports a good population of Great-crested Newt.
Geodiversity: Hampstead Marshall Pit is a geological SSSI.

Access: There are few open access sites such as Inkpen Common. There are a few green lanes such as Holly Lane and there are defined Berkshire Circular Routes in the east and west of the area.

Targets and Opportunities: Management and restoration of lowland meadow, heathland and acid grassland. Management of parkland. Management of woodland.

Contact the West Berkshire Farming and Countryside Project for free advice in this area:

Sally Wallington

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07932 322163