Two plateau areas topped by areas of acidic sandy soils encompassing Snelsmore Common and the adjacent woodlands and the woodlands between Shaw and Curridge. Includes any steeper slopes at the edge of the plateau especially along the Winterbourne Valley.

Click here for area map.

Joint Character Area: Thames Basin Heaths

Geology: The plateaus are topped by Head, which is acidic glacial sand, silt and clay and gravel. This overlies areas of the clay, silts and sands of the London Clay Formation and Lambeth Group (Reading Beds). At the edge there are areas of chalk in places.

Topography: The western area is a relatively flat plateau with slopes on the edge that range from fairly gentle to somewhat steeper, especially along the western edge. The eastern area is more of a ridge to the south, with a narrow plateau and quite steep sides. To the north, off this plateau area, the area is much flatter.


· Heathland and acid grassland: The most important site is the extensive area of heathland and acid grassland at Snelmore Common, which is managed by West Berkshire Council.

· Woodland: There are extensive areas of woodland in the area including a number of large ancient woodlands such as Bussock Wood and Philip Hill, Upper Grange and Smithy Copses and High Wood and Brick Kiln Copse.

Geodiversity: Important sites include sink holes at Snelsmore and exposures in the sand near Chieveley.

Access: the main focus for access is Snelsmore Common. In the east there are a number of bridleways.

Targets and opportunities: Heathland and acid grassland management. Potential areas for restoration where the Head is found, especially south of Snelsmore Common and on the eastern plateau. Potential for acid and acidic neutral grassland elsewhere. Woodland Management. In the north proposed mineral extraction may provide opportunities for habitat creation.

If you would like to get involved with projects in this BOA please contact us for current opportunities.