Cookham Moor - Cookham Commons
At the very heart of Cookham Village, the Moor is often a focal point for local events and fetes. On quieter days you may be lucky enough to see a kingfisher perching above the pond.
Cookham Moor once belonged to the Ancient Royal Manor of Cookham. The moor was deemed to be land of poor value and was left as ‘common’ land. Local people held ancient rights to graze beasts and take wood for fuel.
Responsibility for the rights of ‘commoners’ throughout the estate was held by the Manorial Court, which met at the Kings Arms in Cookham in the late 19th Century. The final court took place at Kings Hall in 1920 (now the Stanley Spencer Gallery).
Cookham Moor was central to discussions during this final meeting, where a ban on turning out swine on the moor was finally approved. This was a major break from tradition as the crown estate of Cookham is recorded as having area enough for 100 pigs in the Domesday Book of 1086.
The rooting behaviour of swine is often used to reduce bracken cover for conservation of woodland. It is very likely that these behaviours caused damage to trees and the creation of muddy patches (wallows) which may have led to the local populations’ disdain for the swine.
Removal of swine from the moor meant that it no longer needed to be fenced off. Soon after the ban all fencing was removed along with the four gates that had allowed public access to the moor since the 1700s. Today, much of the moor is cut as amenity grassland for the benefit of all, with many other areas across the site being managed for nature conservation.
Through considered management across the whole site we are able to provide an array of different habitats and encourage a larger range of species to live there. For this reason Cookham moor is a great place to go bug hunting, with the many wild verges providing great habitat for all manner of beetles and other insects.
Fleet ditch, located alongside the car park, is also a great place to see kingfishers and little egrets.
As well as enjoying the Moor and exploring the shops and restaurants of the village, this is a good starting point for an extended walk along the river Thames to Cock Marsh.
Alternatively, head south away from the bustling Thames-side village of Cookham into quieter countryside, criss-crossed by the Strand Water and White Brook streams. These quiet backwaters trickle through farmland and common land that are rich in wildlife. This walk is also the best way to venture onto Widbrook Common.
Local to Cookham, the works of artist Stanley Spencer capture the tranquillity of everyday village life and the rural idyll of the surroundings. Take in the history and culture of Cookham Village by combining a walk in the countryside with a visit to Cookham church and the Stanley Spencer Gallery.
Planning your visit
- Free parking is available but it does get busy at weekends so please arrive early to avoid disappointment.
- OS Map grid reference for Cookham Moor car park: SU892853.
- Cookham Moor is 1 mile south of Cock Marsh and quarter of a mile west of Cookham High Street.
- The nearest railway station is Cookham, which is half a mile west of the Moor.