Circular walk 10 – birds and boars around Eversley Cross

Along this route you can see how gravel extraction has affected the landscape in the Valley and how restoration is creating a local resource for both people and wildlife alike.

About the walk

Start point: Moor Green Lakes car park, Lower Sandhurst Road, Eversley. SU 805627
Distance: 5 km /3 miles
Walk time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Terrain: Flat on relatively good surfaces, but with some steps and stiles.

Getting there

Rail to Trail: there is no train station nearby.

Moor Green Nature Reserve

Until 1976 the site now known as Moor Green Lakes Nature Reserve was mainly rough pasture used for grazing horses and cattle. Then for the next six years the site was used for gravel extraction, before being restored to the nature reserve which you can see today. The lakes provide an important habitat to wetland birds and the surrounding trees and grassland support a wide variety of flowers, insects, dragonflies and deer.
  • 1. From the car park walk down the path passing the lakes of Moor Green Lakes Nature Reserve on the left. Continue straight past Colebrook bird hide and cross over a bridge, until reaching a T-junction where the river is in front.
Frequently seen on Moor Green Lakes is the Great Crested Grebe. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds was established in 1889 in response to the declining numbers of this elegant water bird. The Great Crested Grebe was almost hunted to extinction in the 1800s for its ornate head plumes, used in ladies' fashion. However due to legislation, changing fashion and an increase in the number of lakes available for breeding, numbers have since increased. Great Crested Grebes' dive to feed and also to escape, preferring this to flying. On land they are clumsy because their feet are placed so far back on their bodies.

Along the River Blackwater

  • 2. Turn right to join the Blackwater Valley Path. Follow the Path along the river passing an area known as Manor Farm, which is one of a number of areas along the Valley where gravel extraction is forming the landscape. When the Path forks keep to the right to follow it as it heads away from the river and emerges on to Longwater Road.
In ancient times a much larger river carrying water from the south flowed across here. This larger river cut its route through a plateau of sands and gravel deposits, these remain on either side of the Valley, the basis for today's heathland. At some distant point in time the headwaters of the ancient river were 'caught' and moved onto their modern route to the south of the Hog's Back ridge to complete the River Wey, leaving the River Blackwater as a small stream in a wide valley underlain by sand and gravels. Gravel extraction in recent times has restored the watery nature as the dominant feature of the Valley. To supply the urban population of the Blackwater Valley, water has to be brought in from the Thames and when eventually discharged to the river helps increase its volume. Recent improvement to the discharges has seen marked benefits to the river's wildlife, shoals of fish such Chub and Perch can often be seen.


  • 3. Turn left and follow the road south. When the pavement runs out cross to the other side of the road and then cross back again to take the signed footpath on the left, which is just past Longwater Lane.
Eversley's ancient origins are suggested by the village sign erected on Cross Green. The name is believed to be derived from 'Efor's Leigh', field of the Wild Boar, and is one of the few remaining records of the existence of wild boar in England. Eversley is recorded in the Domesday Book and was valued at £4 in 1086.
  • 4. The footpath runs along the edge of the cricket green, follow the yellow Hampshire County Council footpath arrows around the cricket pavilion. Cross over a small bridge and then a stile to follow the grass path to another stile and then out onto Fox Lane. Turn left. Note: Alternatively, after the cricket pavilion, turn right down wide gravel path to take you past cricket green to the Reading Road for refreshment at one of the pubs. Then take first left onto Fox Lane. This may be necessary if the footpath is very wet.
Wild Boar were native to Britain up until the end of the 13th Century when they are believed to have become extinct due to over hunting and the clearing of woodland. Today in parts of the country Wild Boar which have escaped from captivity are living wild as they did years ago. Wild Boar are related to domestic pigs. They mainly eat plants, fruit and berries. Wild Boar are generally nocturnal, have poor eyesight, but excellent hearing and sense of smell. They are very vocal and communicate with each other through a series of grunts and squeals.
  • 5. Follow the lane around to the right past the gravel extraction works entrance. Then just after Watmore Farm go through a gate and down the signed footpath on the left. This leads past a lake to the left.


  • 6. Pass through a further two gates and over a small bridge walking through an area of housing. The footpath continues between the houses along a surfaced path.
  • 7. When the path forks, keep to the left to go through a vehicle barrier emerging onto Mayflower Drive. Cross the road and continue along footpath almost opposite. Then cross Exeter Gardens and continue along the footpath.
  • 8. Pass through another vehicle barrier leading out onto a grassed area. Bear left to cross the grass and turn left onto Moulsham Copse Lane. Continue along the road until reaching a wooden footpath sign on the left.
  • 9. Follow this gravel path, which will widen taking you past a lake on your right. Where the paths cross, keep straight. When the bridleway and footpath run parallel, divided by a hedge, keep to the footpath on the right which runs along the river.

Back to Moor Green Nature Reserve

  • 10. At the bridge cross over the river and turn left to re-join the Blackwater Valley Path. Follow the Path with the river on the left. Turn right leaving the Blackwater Valley Path but keep the lake on the right to return to the car park.