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This Week's Walks - Archive

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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.

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Saturday, 31 March 2018

Saturday Walk Aldermaston to Woolhampton

Aldermaston to Woolhampton T=swc.117

Length: 12.6 miles (20.3km) 5 out of 10

It's 60 years since the first Aldermaston march, which took 4 days to walk from Trafalgar Square to the Atomic Weapons Establishment on the Easter weekend. Subsequently they started in Aldermaston. 
This walk is an undulating landscape with some fine views over the West Berkshire Downs, which  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. Lunch destination is the very pretty village of Stanford Dingley in the Pang Valley.
The walk also leads through the 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 (my preference) through the landscaped Midgham Park.
Trains: Get the 0922 Bath Spa train from Paddington, changing at Reading (0954) for the Aldermaston train 1012 arriving 1025 (usually platform 2). From Ealing Broadway, get the 0853 Reading train arrive 0947. Return trains are from Midgham at xx27 until 1927, then 2019, 2116, 2204, 2254 changing at Reading. Buy a return to Midgham.

Lunch: The recommended lunch stop is The Bull Inn in Stanford Dingley (8.4 km/5.2 mi).
Tea: There are two pubs close to the station, The Angel & the lovely Rowbarge. Note that from the Rowbarge you have to allow time to avoid getting cut off by the level crossing gates or the canal swing bridge.


Colin said...

I plan to go.

Anonymous said...

6 left the station with Billy Whizz leaving us in his wake
The weather was quite clement with a peep of soft sun gently teasing us in the morning and then a bit squally in the afternoon. Lets just say w=grey day
This walk is a skivers joy as we did two short cuts in the morning and then those with predominant skiver genes ( they do exist I assure you ) planned to take a taxi after lunch to the tea time pub.
The morning was wonderfully eventful with us spotting a Montjac deer from the train window just before we drew into Aldermaston Station.
We wandered down the road on the route to find that the God of Floods had been and left and made the road and surrounding fields impassable. I was of a mind to abandon all hope but a Scottish woman who is better known for her choice of lunch pubs ( aka Sheepie ) managed to flag down a couple of trucks who shipped us through the deluge. The man who is a retired mathematician and now has the enviable task of writing Christmas cracker jokes gave the driver of the first truck to stop lifetime membership of SWC - I am not sure that he appreciated this bountiful offer.
Lunch at the Bull in Stanford Dingley gave excellent service and we were well looked after even down to the owner giving Christmas Cracker man a lift to the nearby supermarket / bus stop. They didn’t list any vegan dishes but my linguine and Sheepie’s risotto were very close and I am sure if you asked the kitchen would accommodate you.

Our retired English teacher who I will refer to as RET started an argument in the pub amongst us about proper English but then thankfully that fizzled out without resort to fisticuffs.
Our esteemed leader (curious that leaders are always esteemed) set off to walk the afternoon 7.5 miles whilst us other 3 ‘bailed out’ and took the the taxi to church in Midgham.

Surprisingly we were joined by a late comer (so total n=7) as we were about to leave in the taxi. OApparently Ms A had had a business mtg that morning so got a train to Theale and then a taxi to the pub. She obviously did not realise the extent of the saturation of the route and decided to walk. Just before she left she confessed that her business meeting was actually Carluccio's doing a free breakfast if you turn up in your dressing gown. I will now know her as Ms Dressing Down.
We three finished with tea in the Rowbarge Inn at Midgham, having walked the last mile or so, excellent tea and a good shortbread biscuit, for which I broke my Lenten fast.
Waiting for the train at 16.19 to Reading we were met by our Esteemed Leader on the platform, our rather sodden hats off to you EL.
Fondest Regards and All That
The Retired Geneticist
PS Mr M Tiger was expected to join us but unfortunately didn't. I wonder if he visited Carluccio's as well

PPS Yippee no dogs all day.