Wishmoor Bottom - more info

Map - click to enlarge in new window

Wishmoor appears in the Berks [and Surrey/Hants] Bird report as a site for a variety desirables – Dartford warbler, Tree pipits, Redstart, Wood Warbler, Crossbill, Nightjar, Woodcock, Woodlark and, of course, Great Grey Shrike.

Map references are in square brackets [horizontal, vertical]

If you don’t intend to make a day of it the best way in is via the A30 [at Camberley] then north up King’s ride parking, carefully, just before the road starts to veer off left [4.2, 1.8]. The entrance to the site is easily seen on the right. It’s used a lot by dog walkers and local, army, families. A full day might include ‘Caesar’s Camp’ and the rest of *Swinley Forest [parking at “The Look Out”].

After going through a barrier head north, crossing a broad track and as you pass over a stream, stop where the overhead cables cross over the path [4.2, 2.5]  to scan the heather on your left for Dartfords and Stonechat. You may well hear Woodlark above the Coal tits – they can be seen off the path both left and right if you’re early enough. Carry on up and you’ll cross an east-west path [4.2, 3.1]. Take care as you approach as there’s often various birds in the bushes and small trees which will face you as you reach the “cross roads”:  Reed bunting, Dartford, Stonechat, Siskin, Redpoll, Meadow pipit, tits and Treecreeper  - depending on the time of year. Go a little way east down this track and you can either take the a path which hugs the west side of the ‘Bottom’ [going north] or walk the broad swath cut in the heather [north north east]- both marked on the map. Which ever you take you ‘should’ get good views of Tree pipit, Dartford Warbler and Stonechat. This is where Great Grey Shrike has been [latest Feb 00] as well as wryneck in June 2001 [DJB]. The lower route will give you better views down to the ‘stream’ – you’ll be able to get Surrey ticks as the stream is the county boundary.

Crossbills can be found in the large pines along the stream bed as well as those towards, and beyond, “Wishmoor cross”. As the heather runs out take the track east and you’ll get to Wishmoor Cross [5.5, 4.5] with a stand of mature deciduous trees which have had singing Redstart, Great and green peckers Nuthatch, treecreeper, tits and warblers. Grasshopper warbler has been found in this north east corner of Wishmoor.

If you haven’t had Redstart yet a walk north west towards the Lower Star Post [4.2, 5.1] may get you one [16 were heard singing in the area  26/4/96]. Listen out, too, for Wood Warbler which have been regularly found in this area in the past [in May and June between Lower Star Post and Rapley lake [8.5, 6.2] – 3 singing males in the Rapley lake area in ’96]. The triangle formed by the Upper Star Post, Rapley lake and Wishmoor Cross is worth exploring for these two Summer visitors.

Felling and replanting means that Nightjar ‘moves’ about and the more northerly end of *Swinley Forest may be a better bet.

* See ‘Caesar’s Camp’ guide