The play area at Dinton Pastures Country Park opened on Saturday at 10am by clay pigeon shooter Amber Hill of Binfield, the BBC's Young Sports Personality of the Year.
The park features giant nest towers – the tallest being just under four metres, swinging hanging logs, zip wires, funnel net trap, play bridge and troll holes, giant climbing logs, willow maze, storytelling area and a woodland obstacle course. At the northern part of the play space there is also a woodland picnic area and den building structures.
The play area, which has been designed by award-winning landscapers Davies White and funded by developer contributions to Wokingham Borough Council.
Chris Buggy, countryside coordinator, said: "I'm so pleased that the wait is almost over for everyone across the Wokingham Borough, young and old, to come to Dinton Pastures and enjoy the new play park as well as the other features on offer at the country park."
The Dragonfly Cafe is open from 8.30am daily. Open all year round (except for Christmas Day.) Closing times vary. For cafe enquiries, please call 0118 932 1071.
Hurst Green Fees from 1st April 2013
Booking a Tee off time:
Telephone: 0118 934 4355
Practice Green only
Dusk / Twilight rate
75% of full off peak rate.
Concession full rate applies.
GOLF COURSE CLOSED
GetReding.co.uk - Anger as council rubber-stamps decision to close Hurst Golf Course.
Hurst Golf Course is part of Dinton Pastures Country Park. The well maintained 9 hole course is assessed as a par 64 and has a reputation for being challenging for golfers of all abilities.
You can turn up and play or tee times can be booked up to 6 days in advance. The course is open daily from 6.30am until dusk, except Christmas Day.
How much does it cost?
You can play golf for as little as £5.30, read our green fees page for more information.
Booking a Tee off time:
Telephone: 0118 934 4355
Opening times for Spring and Summer
Early bird: 6.30am to 8am - rounds must be pre-booked and paid for after play.
- 9 hole course
- Par 64 standard scratch
- Turn up and play or tee times booked up to 6 days in advance
- Clubs, trolleys and buggy available for hire
- Beginners welcome
- Casual wear
How to get to Dinton Pastures Country Park, Hurst Golf Course and the Multi-Activity Centre (MAC)
By car: From junction 10 M4, take the A329(M) towards Reading. After one mile follow signs to Winnersh on the A329. After just over a mile turn left at Winnersh crossroads onto the B3030 to Twyford. The park is sign-posted on the left after one mile. For the MAC go past the entrance, take the next left along Sandford Lane, it is signposted after 400m.
By bus:Buses 128 and 129 between Reading and Wokingham run every hour except Sundays and stop near main entrance.
By train: The nearest train station is at Winnersh, which is a 10-15 minute walk from the Park, walk out of the station and turn left, continue down this road until you go over a motorway bridge, then the Park is sign-posted on the left.
Cycle racks are provided in the Dragonfly café garden.
Dinton Pastures Country Park was opened to the public in 1979 after 14 years of gravel extraction on a site, which was previously farmland. Today the Park is enjoyed by several hundred thousand visitors annually and is a haven for wildlife.
Previous to gravel extraction the site belonged to High Chimneys Farm. The farmhouse, which is now the Dragonfly cafe building was built in 1904. In 1924 it was sold to a farmer who re-named it after his home village of Dinton, near Aylesbury. Sheep and cattle were kept on the farm and the Emmbrook and Loddon rooms were originally cow sheds built in the 1920s. The large concrete floors in the large barn still have the indentations in them where the cows once stood for milking.
The gravel extraction created 8 lakes on the original farm site. Part of the Emmbrook was diverted to run alongside the golf course. The remnant of the old course can still be seen today, dividing one of the islands on Black Swan Lake.
As the water areas were created, wildlife and visitors moved in. Wintering wildfowl like wigeon, pochard and goldeneye soon found the lakes as well as familiar species like swans, coots, mallards and gulls. Nightingales found places to nest in the scrub areas and dragonfly species moved into the wetlands. The park has a significant number of the latter with 18 species present on site out of a British total of 42 species. Rarer birds started to arrive like bitterns and smew on Lavell's Lake and great crested newts have been found in the ponds.
Wokingham District Council Countryside Service manage the site with the aim of balancing wildlife needs with access to the park for people. The site has been zoned to include fishing and sailing lakes as well as quieter conservation areas. Over 5,000 school children visit the site annually to learn about their environment. Regular Countryside Events are organised throughout the year on everything from bat and bird walks to basket making and star watching as well as bigger 'fundays' for families, where there are up to 3,000 people.
The Countryside Service has recently updated the play area. Wildlife management is a priority especially for species highlighted in the Authority's Biodiversity Action Plan. Creating hibernating places for great crested newts, putting up nesting boxes for barn owls, creating reed beds for reed buntings and warblers are all part of the valuable conservation work carried out by the Service. New wildlife trails were opened last year 2000 and electric buggies are now available for disabled visitors to hire free of charge.