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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Second Walk – Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Stanford Dingley)

Quiet and scenic, rolling West Berkshire countryside: woodlands, fields, commons, chalk stream valleys (Kennet, Bourne, Pang), heathland, finish along canal or through parkland.

Length: 20.3 km (12.6 mi) [shorter walk possible, see pdf]
Ascent/Descent:  301 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 4 ½ hours
Toughness:  5 out of 10 

Take the 09.32 Bristol Temple Meads train from Paddington, change at Reading: arrives 09.57, departs 10.12 (Newbury Train, usually departing from Platform 1); arriving Aldermaston at 10.25
Return trains: xx.24 to 19.24, then 20.10, 21.17, 22.29 hours (change at Reading, from 63 mins journey time). Buy a Midgham return.

First posting of the full version of this former map led walk, the short version has been premiered in rather wet conditions on a Wednesday in February (participants may remember vividly): This walk explores a surprisingly quiet part of the commuter area that is West Berkshire, less than an hour from Central London. It is an undulating landscape with some fine views over unspoilt countryside - the West Berkshire Downs, which are part of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and consist of a mix of ancient woodlands, commons, fields and pretty villages with pleasant, historical pubs. 
The route passes through the chalk stream river valleys of the Kennet, the Bourne and the Pang, where you’ll also find some evidence of traditional water meadows. Lunch destination is the very pretty village of Stanford Dingley in the Pang Valley. The walk also leads through the Bucklebury Estate, one of the largest in the South, and through the elevated Bucklebury Common, one of the largest commons in Southern England. In the main this consists of a variety of woods, but you’ll also walk through one of Berkshire’s largest heathlands and see part of a famous Avenue of Oaks. At the end there is a choice of finishes either along the Kennet & Avon Canal or through the landscaped Midgham Park.

There are plenty of pubs on and just off route (see the webpage for details), but the recommended lunch stop is The Bull Inn in Stanford Dingley (8.4 km/5.2 mi). 
For tea there are now two options: The Angel Inn has reopened, and there is The Rowbarge Inn, both in Woolhampton, 2 minutes from Midgham station.
For walk directions, map, height profile, and gpx/kml files click here.

1 comment:

Thomas G said...

N=15 walkers, with the initial clouds lifting around 11.00 o'clock, for a w=sunny day thereafter (heavy rain though later while on the train back to London). The group stayed together to the lunch pub, where some had a second drink, while the majority moved on. Those few also had a mid-afternoon stop at (after a diversion to) The Cottage Inn in Upper Bucklebury, so arrived in Woolhampton much later than the main group.
Proper countryside quite close to London, hardly any other walkers met all day, some beautiful villages, and a nice pub providing for fast delivery of very fine doorstop sandwiches and other assorted goods. Lunch was had outside on benches in front of the pub in the sun, not a bad result for mid Oct.
Some corrections to the directions are necessary around the Bucklebury Common heathland, as the scenery is now much different now from when the walk research was done in deep winter.
16.24 train for 10, after a 30 mins stop in The Rowbarge. 17.24 for the other 5, who gave The Angel a try (which is fine, but not as atmospheric as The Rowbarge).