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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, 15 December 2018

Saturday walk - Crowthorne to Sandhurst - Berkshire heaths and woods

Length: 15.3km (9.5 miles) - with options to extend after lunch to 17.3km (10.4 miles) or 20.5km (12.7 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10 T=3.83

9.30 (Bristol Temple Meads-bound) train** from Paddington to Reading, arriving 9.55 and changing to the 10.04 to Crowthorne, arriving 10.18.

** If you get to Paddington a bit earlier you could get the 9.22 Worcester train which gives you four extra minutes to make the connection. The only convenient connection from Ealing Broadway is the 9.05 stopping service to Reading arriving at 9.50.

Buy a day return to Sandhurst - or to Blackwater if you plan to end there

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

I have not done this walk and so rely on the walk notes, which promise mixed woodland, heaths and pastures including the National Trust's Finchampstead Ridges. The afternoon is along the River Blackwater where there can apparently be flooding after heavy rain, but I don't think rain has yet been that heavy this winter....

Lunch is in Finchampstead after 8km (5 miles) where there is a pub - the Queen's Oak - described as "very welcoming to walkers", with another alternative nearby.

After lunch you can do the standard walk to Sandhurst - 13.5km (9.5 miles) or extend the walk in two ways. One possibility (option i) is a slightly longer afternoon, making a walk of 17.3km (10.4 miles) and another is to add a leg from Sandhurst to Blackwater (option ii), making a walk of 18.5km (11.4 miles). Doing BOTH these options would make a walk of 20.5km (12.7 miles).

Tea is in one of two pubs in Sandhurst: there seem to be no tea options at Blackwater, however.

Trains back are at 28 past from Blackwater or 31 past from Sandhurst, changing at Reading

1 comment:

Walker said...

Wet, basically. W=Cold-and-wet. If you stayed under the duvet today because of the dire weather forecast, for once you made the right call. Five of us ventured out regardless, but one thought better of it a hundred metres into the walk (Is this a record?) and headed home, so actually there were n=4 of us.

In fact, the morning was not that bad. Rain greeted us as we disembarked at Crowthorne, but it was light and intermittent until lunch. The scenery was a very pleasant mix of heath and woods, dry underfoot on firm paths. On a nicer day this would have been a perfect winter walk.

The Queen’s Oak pub is described in the walk notes as “walker-friendly”. They were certainly perfectly welcoming, but I suspect this establishment has undergone a change of management since the last walk update, as it is now a table-service place with a fairly posh menu. They had one unreserved table and three of us had a perfectly pleasant meal there.

After lunch, alas, the rain set in. We did the slightly longer afternoon route and were soon in hunker down mode - keep the body core warm, maintain essential functions and so forth. The best that can be said about such weather is that it tests your kit (Sealskin socks and waterproof trousers - Pass; gloves and twenty year old waterproof jacket - Fail). The section along the River Blackwater seemed very pleasant on the occasions when I raised my eyes from the ground, but they were very rare occasions. For the record, this section was not the least bit waterlogged, despite warnings in the walk document - a good gravel path throughout and the river level a metre and a half below us.

We even got to Sandhurst with clean boots, and cleaner waterproof trousers than we had set off with. Our martial spirits were somewhat impaired, though. Even though it was only 3pm and our ranks included two stalwart long walkers, plans to carry on to Blackwater were ditched. Instead we went to the pub for tea or wine, and to start the long process of drying out before variously getting the 3.30 and 4.30 trains home.