Bracknell, a post war new town located on the A329 near Wokingham, was developed in 1924 across the site of the ancient parishes of Warfield and Easthampstead.
The original settlement began at the junction of two main highways through the great Windsor Forest (now termed the Bracknell Forest). All that remains today of this once vast ancient royal hunting ground can be found to the south of the town, which covers an area of Crown Estates, public parks and nature reserves. The local heathland, forest and pine woods in this area provide excellent walking territory.
In 1952, Bracknell became the home of the Meteorological Office and also the Royal Air Force Staff College. Sadly the Met Office relocated to Exeter in 2003 and the building was demolished. The town is now currently home to several important computer and advanced technology companies.
Among Bracknell's listed buildings is the iconic Point Royal, a 17-story modern hexagonal building by Arup Associates; the only high-rise apartment in the town. The history of the town is depicted in a 98ft long relief mural on the Honeywell building, located in the modern central shopping precinct.
The magnificent Grade II listed Easthampstead Park, just west of the town, was rebuilt in the 19th-c. It is now a conference centre and hotel. Originally constructed as a Royal Hunting Lodge for King Edward III in 1350, it was part of a larger private estate often visited by royalty, including Richard II and Catherine of Aragon.
South of the town is the lovely 18th-c Italianate South Hill Park, set in extensive parkland. It was once the country house of George Canning (1770-1827), Prime Minister in 1827. The building is now a popular theatre and arts centre. For further details visit https://www.southhillpark.org.uk
The remains of a Bronze Age barrow, on Bill Hill in the centre of town, indicates the area's ancient past. Also, to the south of Bracknell lies Caesar's Camp, a 20-acre iron age hill fort, part of which is now a recreation ground and picnic site.
Nine Mile Ride, believed to be the old Roman road leading to the fort, runs through wooded countryside along a section of the B3430 to Finchampstead. Accessible from this road is The Look Out Discovery Centre, a family friendly science and nature complex, incorporating thousands of acres of woodland, with extensive walking and cycle trails. The visitor centre has hands-on interactive exhibits. See website for details.
Ascot, located just a few miles to the east of the town, is renowned for its racecourse. The course was instituted by Queen Anne in 1711 and is now one of the most fashionable racecourses in England. The world famous Royal Ascot Week is held annually here in June, and is still attended by members of the Royal Family.