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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.

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Saturday, 29 December 2018

Saturday Walk - Newbury Racecourse to Woolhampton (Midgham station) or to Thatcham

Length: 19.8 km (12.3 mi) [or 24.3 km to Thatcham]
Ascent/Descent: 198/207m; Net Walking Time: 4 hours
Toughness: 3/10

Take the 9.25 Bristol Temple Meads train from Paddington (change Reading 9.54/10.06 onto the Newbury train), arrives Newbury Racecourse at 10.23. 
Return trains are 16.19, 17.27, 18.27 etc. (change Reading) but also 16.27 (change Newbury and Reading). [From Thatcham: 16.03, 16.15, 17.07, 17.23, 18.03…]. 
Buy a Newbury Racecourse return.

This is a fairly easy walk with some gentle climbs en route. The morning section of the walk crosses Greenham Common, a former World War II and NATO airfield. In 1953 it was made available to the United States Air Force by the Ministry of Defence as a Strategic Air Command base and in the early 1980s cruise missiles were deployed here. Subsequently the last cruise missiles were removed in 1991, and the facility was closed and put up for sale in 1993. The Greenham Common Trust purchased the land in 1997 and the majority of the land has been returned to something approaching its former natural state. (The cruise missile storage silos have been fenced off. - the cost of demolishing them being prohibitive.)
For the rest it’s fields, woods and waterways...

Lunch: The Travellers Friend in Crookham Common (10.0 km/6.2 mi, food to 15.00) or The Ship Inn in Ashford Hill (13.6 km/8.5 mi, food to 14.00).
Tea: The Rowbarge  in Woolhampton.

For summary, map, height profile, some photos, walk directions and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.34


PeteG said...

Whilst contemplating which walk to do, I discovered the train to Newbury has changed slightly and is now Reading 1006 arr Newbury Racecourse 1023. Incidentally, you get the 0848 Reading train from Ealing Broadway.

I haven't checked the return train times.

Thomas G said...

Thanks Pete. Post amended. Rtn train times unch.

PeteG said...

Reading Station has it going at 1012....

Walker said...

There was a choice of Newbury Racecourse trains at Reading. The 10.06, taken by 8 of us, turned out to be a race day special that “non-stopped” (in railway guard lingo) all the way to its destination. One walker, we later discovered, got the slower 10.12, presumably the normal scheduled service: he caught up with us at lunch. Two more also appeared at the same time, having got a train an hour earlier so as to enjoy a more leisurely pace. So we were n=11 happy campers in all.

Having encountered some of the sporting fraternity on the train out, we encountered more late morning: a dozen gentlemen with firearms standing apart from each other in a field with their backs to us. We walked quietly across the field behind them, happily escaping before the birds arrived.

Otherwise this was an uneventful and fairly flat walk on a w=cloudy day. The cloud did break at the end, but only in time for a muted sunset. The scenery was pleasant without being particularly memorable, the stark missile silos on Greenham Common excepted.

Lunch was at the Travellers Whatsit, a hearty meal which our over-indulged post-Christmas stomachs struggled to absorb. Tea at the Rowbarge consisted of vast pots of tea that could not quite be finished in the rush for the 4.19 train. This turned out to be packed with racegoers and a noisy contingent of what appeared to be football fans. The fast train from Reading to Paddington was similarly full, but mercifully quieter.