Planting a better future
Simon's Wood, 2022
Friends of Finchampstead Ridges
For those interested in supporting the National Trust landscape sites of Finchampstead Ridges, Simon's Wood and Ambarrow Hill
Explore the outdoors and enjoy the landscape of one of Berkshire’s beauty spots and take a walk at Finchampstead Ridges, Simon’s Wood, or Ambarrow Hill. Follow the Centenary Trail or discover your own woodland route and see what you might find!
Finchampstead Ridges is a group of small countryside sites nestled in Southern Berkshire near to the borders of Hampshire and Surrey. The Ridges itself, with beautiful views as far as the Hog’s Back ridge in Surrey, is one of the National Trust’s oldest acquisitions, having been in our care for over 100 years.
Points of Interest
Wellingtonia Avenue, The Devils' Highway and the Ambarrow Conundrum.
Simon's Wood showcases one of the most recognisable features, the impressive Giant Redwoods or Wellingtonia Sequoiadendron giganteum trees planted in 1863.
The Roman Road from London to Silchester, believed to be second century and now nicknamed the Devil’s Highway, is a route which passes through Simon’s Wood.
The intriguing mound at the centre of Ambarrow Hill has caused many a debate but archaeologists have been unable to confirm any of the various theories.
Loved By Locals
Finchampstead Ridges was owned by the Walter family, then owners of The Times newspaper. In 1913, following financial difficulties, the estate was broken up; Finchampstead Ridges was purchased thanks to a group of local people who raised the money by local subscription and gifted it to the National Trust. The lands making up Simon's Wood were gifted by local residents Mr G Simon and Mr R Brooks.
A volunteer team led by National Trust Rangers meet at Simon’s Wood or Finchampstead Ridges on the 2nd and 3rd Wednesday each month. Recent work has concentrated on opening up the views on the Ridges, clearing invasive species to create a more open woodland and planting extensive hedging.
Heathland management, Rhododendron and small tree removal often with accompanying bonfires, are some of the tasks we undertake as well as a wide variety of infrastructure maintenance such as the installation of footbridges and boardwalks.
If you see us working in the woods please do come along and have a chat.
Next workday: Wednesday 18th May. 10am at Simon's Wood Car Park.
Fundraising is by no means an easy feat, but through cooperation and community involvement, we have been successful in facilitating progress in this area.
We are always looking for additional funding so please contact us to see how you can learn more and lend your support.
New volunteer requests are currently on hold due to work priorities but if this changes, we will post an update.
Volunteers use their many skills in maintaining and repairing the various infrastructure around the sites. This work is often made possible from generous donations and project fundraising opportunities.