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New Shinfield Recreational Open Green Space Needs A Name

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Local people in Shinfield are being invited to help to shape the future of their community by putting forward ideas to name a new recreational open green space.

Shinfield Recreational Open Green Space - Reading University

Owned by the University of Reading, the land is to the west of Shinfield, off Hyde End Lane, and has been planned as part of wider development in the Shinfield area.

While the green space is already open for the public to use, the University plans to formally open the site and unveil its name on Saturday 6 July, as part of events to coincide with National Meadows Day.

The parkland – described informally as ‘the Ridge’ – is an area of suitable alternative natural greenspace (SANG) and provides an enjoyable walk through semi-natural habitat, with long-distance views to the north from the prominent ridgeline. It is readily accessible from Shinfield and has safe pedestrian routes to other areas of green open space, including Langley Mead, also managed by the University. A small car park is also available.

Throughout the next year, the University plans to introduce new planted areas, including woodland, hedgerows, ponds and grasslands, that will create new habitats for wildlife, including owls and birds of prey. New information boards and waymarkers will encourage people to learn about the local environment.   

Molli Cleaver, Community Engagement Manager at the University of Reading, said: “The land currently known as the Ridge SANG is developing into an area of open green space the University is providing for members of the local community to enjoy. It will also create many new habitats for plants and wildlife, significantly increasing the biodiversity of the area.

“As well as managing the land for the benefit of local people and the environment, we would like its name to reflect our community, perhaps in honour of local people or groups, to mark the heritage and identity of the site. We would love local people to put forward ideas, before we discuss them all with representatives of Shinfield Parish Council to agree on the final name.”

Some suggestions so far have included looking back at the history of the site, with historical landowners and field names, as well as some names inspired by the geographical location of the site. These have included:

  • Hardy Ridge – to reflect the link to novelist and poet, Thomas Hardy, who featured Shinfield twice in his works
  • High View Ridge – to represent the landscape and the views of the surrounding area
  • Parsons Ridge – Louisa Parsons was an army nurse who trained under Florence Nightingale. She lived in Shinfield towards the end of her life, was heavily involved in the community and is buried in St Mary’s Church cemetery
  • Plunkett Ridge – Plunkett was the surname of the 7th Earl of Fingal, an Irish landowner who lived in Berkshire.

The University would like members of the community to send in their suggestions online using this online form to suggest names. Alternatively, people can post their suggestions and reasons behind them to: Community Engagement Team, Room 301, Whiteknights House, Whiteknights, PO Box 217, Reading, RG6 6AH.

Suggestions need to be in by Monday 20 May.

More information about our community activities in Shinfield can be found on our website.

Swallows Meadow

Another University-owned green space in Lower Earley, known locally as Swallows Meadow, will also become accessible to the public later this year, with new access points and a mown footpath. Following close consultation with Earley Town Council, the University plans to develop a range of engagement activities to understand residents’ views on further improvement and use of the green space for nature and recreation.

Ms Cleaver added: “We are grateful to everyone who has worked constructively with us to develop our plans for recreation and open space in and around Shinfield and Earley, including those who attended consultation events and workshops.

“We hope to continue improving our shared environment and facilities for everyone in the community for years to come.”