THREE historic sites in Bracknell Forest and Wokingham have been identified at being at risk of being lost forever, according to Historic England.

The public body that is tasked with protecting England’s historic sites published its latest heritage at risk register on November 4 and shows nearly 5,000 sites most at risk of being lost due to neglect, decay, or ‘inappropriate’ development.

The heritage sites among Bracknall Forest and surrounding areas vary from registered parks and gardens and scheduled monuments that lie in the beautiful Berkshire countryside and villages around Bracknell.


Newbold College (Formally Moor Close)

Now the home of Newbold College, Moor Close estate was first commissioned by Oliver Hill as his first architectural triumph. Set in the shadow of a large house and some terrace buildings the gardens are designed in an early C20 Arts and Craft style.

The plans for several development and infrastructure proposals have put this grade II registered site at risk.

In recent years the site has undergone a condition survey and limited site repairs, however Historic England say that the gardens-built fabric has deteriorated. It is also said that further resources are needed to manage change so that the significance of design and setting may best be considered to restrict further loss of historic design integrity.

Due to the declining trend and high vulnerability, many of the local plans for developments have been approved and given the green light.


Broadmoor Hospital

This grade II* registered park and garden is another of Bracknell Forests historical sites that has made its way onto the ‘At Risk’ list for a number of years. The entire estate is historical listed property and includes a majority of farmland and a unique kitchen garden.

As a former mid 19th century insane asylum built by Joshua Jebb in the late 1850s, the Broadmoor estate has quite the interesting history. It was classed as the first special hospital for the criminally insane recommended by a House of Commons Select Committee, however extensive significant problems to the land have posed a threat over the years.

Historic England has said that the ornamented farmland has survived with some loss of historic character.

Because of the estate historical significance and vulnerability, any application must be accompanied by a Conservation Management Plan to minimise harm to the historic design integrity.

The hospital and grounds have beautiful long views extending into the Surrey countryside to the south and south-west this historical site.


Bearwood College - Wokingham

The Bearwood estate, park and woodland is classed as a grade II listed park and gardens. Bought in 1816 by the chief proprietor of The Times newspaper it was originally the home of a modest classical villa built by J W Sanderson, who also enlarged the lake on this outstanding piece of land. The rock garden on the property was in fact built by Pulham and Company from 1879 to 1885

However, due to multiple owners through the years and changing infrastructure, a large portion of the park was given over to playing fields and two golf courses in 1998. This site is also one of the areas most well-known conservation sites, as it now sits on the training ground for Reading FC.

The principal building, Bearwood College, which was built by Robert Kerr in 1867, is also a grade II* listed building which has had a recent internal refurbishment.

Due to continued development by mixed and multiple owners the parkland features are varying in condition which has been assessed by local authorities.

The result is that the landscape has extensive significant problems, however the trend is stable.

A Conservation Management Plan and liaison group agreed funded proposals for tree management and garden works in 2018 with Historic England advising on how proposals can be progressed to save the remaining historical aspects.