Woolhampton Gravel Pits
The site consists of three areas, the main gravel workings and two sets of fishing lakes to the North and South-west.
The layout of the site has changed and will no doubt continue to develop. The shift in workings has dug up the centre of the old footpath between the deepest workings and cut off good views of the oldest pit, which has reverted back to nature.
The site lays due East of Thatcham along the A4. When entering Woolhampton take the road sign-posted for the railway station and continue over the swing bridge.
You can park at the Rowbarge Inn, by the swing bridge in Woolhampton. Here there is free parking for 20 vehicles during daylight hours, by arrangement with the Council. From here you can follow the footpath round to the main gravel works rejoining the canal at the Lock, or head directly West along the Canal.
Heading West along the towpath you get to another lock. The fishing lakes behind the gravel pits are called Oxlease and further east Cranwells Lakes. There is no access to these private fishing lakes. They can be viewed from the Canal and Heales Lock.
From Heales Lock, you have an elevated view of both the lakes, and Midgham Gravels pits to the North, which are just viewable from the A4 on the West side of Woolhampton. The two most easterly workings are full of water, but lack any vegetation around their edges.
The most Westerly pit is not visible from the Canal, perhaps better views are to be had from the A4, which overlooks these.
Heading South through Woolhampton, there is now only roadside parking for two or three cars along Station Road at SU572660. From here you can proceed up the footpath past the main workings to the main gravel pits. There are rough meadows to the South of the new workings. They have also been reported in the maze fields. There are at least three gaps in the hedge which give views of the rough grass and thistles.
Woolhampton Sewage Works at SU573663, is just South of the village and accessed via a footpath. It is a regular haunt of the local Little Owl.
The parking for Brimpton Fishing lakes to the South-West, is to the West at SU566650, past the main entrance, where a lay-by provides enough parking for 3-4 vehicles.
The footpath heads east along the southern edge of the lakes, round to the main entrance.
Adapted from Stephen Grahams piece - click HERE to see the full guide