Winter Hill - Cookham Commons

Wildflowers on Winter Hill

The name Winter Hill is believed to derive from its usage as winter pasture for livestock when more low lying areas, such as Cock Marsh, unusable due to flooding.

Winter Hill offers arguably some of the most breath taking views of the river Thames and nearby Cock Marsh. One of the highest Thames terraces, Winter Hill is believed to have been used as winter pasture for livestock when more fertile areas on the flood plains became unstable.

View of Berkshire countryside from Winter Hill
View from Winter Hill

Hill top habitation

The terraces of the Thames, along with Winter Hill were the first areas colonised by the nomadic hunter-gatherers of the Old Stone Age (350,000 – 10,000 BC).

Habitation at the site has continued ever since, as is evident from the Bronze Age tumuli (burial mounds) at nearby Cock Marsh. Indeed, huge amounts of Roman pottery were removed from the foot of Winter Hill in 1906, which is thought to have been the site of a ferry across the River Thames.

Winter Hill and Cock Marsh barrow
Winter Hill from Cock Marsh

Natural regeneration

After grazing rights for Winter Hill were no longer continued, natural regeneration of woodland could once again take place, with tree saplings self-seeding over the course of many years.

Much of the work carried out by the National Trust today is aimed at maintaining what calcareous (chalk) grassland is left by removing encroaching scrub such as brambles and self-seeded sapling trees.

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 Winter Hill car park: SU871861.

  • Winter Hill is half a mile south west of Cock Marsh () and 2 miles north east of the car park at Cookham Dean Common (SU861843).

  • The nearest railway station is Cookham (SU886850), which is 1.5 miles south east of Winter Hill. Winter Hill can also be reached from Bourne End station (SU894872) which is 2 miles north east of Winter Hill.