Pinkneys Drive - Maidenhead Commons
Offering both woodlands and meadow to explore, and part of Maidenhead Commons, Pinkneys Drive is a great place for walking, cycling and horse riding.
The land now making up both Pinkneys Drive and Pinkneys Green were all once part of a much larger medieval frith, meaning wooded country. Originally part of the Forest of Windsor the Thicket was reduced over time in part, as a consequence of commoners’ rights to collect fuel, but mainly due to enclosure.
The legal process of enclosure throughout the 18th century resulted in many smaller parcels of common land being combined and sold, thus ending commoners’ rights. The Thicket was further reduced during the Second World War when land was requisitioned for use as arable land.
A wide and open expanse
Over the course of time the cleared area of common land within Maidenhead Thicket expanded and was turned over to the grazing livestock. This expanse of grazing land was entirely fenced and gated, with many gatekeepers employed to ensure tolls were exacted and livestock was contained.
Present day Pinkneys Drive
Today, the common land around Pinkneys Drive is split between an area of extensive open grassland to the south, and semi natural woodland and scrub to the north.
A large swathe of herb-rich wildflower meadow can be found across the road from the car park (SU854815), which was planted by Tom Copas of the Copas Partnership in the late 1990s. Early spring sees the wildflower meadow awash with a sea of yellow Cowslip.
Cowslips were once a common plant of traditional meadows, which were picked as part of May Day celebrations and strewn on church paths during wedding celebrations.
Today, the grasslands are managed as hay meadow, with a late hay cut in the summer that encourages seed distribution and floral diversity. The wooded area around the car park is managed in the same way as Maidenhead Thicket, where rides are kept open and exploration is encouraged.
As well as enjoying the woodlands and wildflowers of Pinkneys Drive, this is a good starting point for an extended walk across the Maidenhead Commons.
Planning your visit
- Free parking is available at the Pinkneys Drive car park (SU854815). There are limited car park spaces available so please arrive early to avoid disappointment.
- Pinkneys Drive is less than half a mile north Maidenhead Thicket and 0.5 miles south west of Pinkneys Green.
- The nearest railway station is Furze Platt (SU882823), which is 2 miles east of Pinkneys Drive.