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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, 19 October 2019

Saturday walk - Aldermaston to Woolhampton via Stanford Dingley - Ancient woodlands, pretty villages

Length: 20.3km (12.6 miles) or 15.6km (9.7 miles) T=3.117
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.30 (Bristol Temple Meads) train from Paddington to Reading, arriving 9.57, crossing to platform 1 for the 10.12 to Aldermaston arriving 10.25.

Great Western seem to have developed a grudge against residents of Ealing Broadway, from which connections are truly appalling for this service. Perhaps they will improve in the new Big Bang December timetable when the whole GWR service is to be re-jigged to reflect the faster train times offered by electrification. For the moment the "official" connecting train is the 8.38 (yes, 8.38), which gets you to Reading at 9.33. The next Reading stopper, the 9.07 gets to Reading at 10.09, leaving you just three minutes to do a mad dash from platform 12 to platform 1 to make the connection - not advised. An alternative is to get the 9.01 train into Paddington, arriving 9.13 and get the 9.30 Bristol train as above.

Buy a day return to Midgham (which, confusingly, is the name of the station in the village of Woolhampton).

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. For a map of the route click here.

We did the Frilsham sister of this walk last October, with its foodie game pub, but as far as I know the lunch options on this walk - and there seem to be a number of them - are of a more normal kind. The walk notes promise undulating landscape, ancient woodlands, commons, pretty villages, historic pubs and an avenue of oaks, which should add up to the ideal autumn outing.

I also wanted to pick a reasonable length walk for one of the last Saturdays before the Great Darkness begins (a reference to the clocks going back, not a No Deal Brexit), though this one also does include an optional shortcut that reduces it to 15.6km (9.7 miles): this cuts out the recommended lunch pub, but leaves you a choice of two or three others.  You can also trim 1.3km (0.8 miles) off the end of the walk

Trains back from Midgham (the station in Woolhampton) are at 16.19, 17.27, 18.27. 19.27, 20.19 - all changing at Reading - and then at 21.16 direct.

If you are carousing at the Rowbarge Inn prior to your train leave a bit of extra time to get to the station because sometimes the level crossing barrier comes down for a fast train, marooning you on the wrong side of the tracks for several minutes. You have been warned!!

1 comment:

Walker said...

N=9 on this walk, including one late starter who caught us up at lunch. And at last it was w=sunny - a beautiful autumn day with just a bit of cloud, and with the ground only muddy in a few places.

One of our number had booked for eight people at The Bull and this proved spot on. We had a very pleasant lunch by the big window in their conservatory, with only lingering looks at the outside tables. Despite a somewhat meaty theme to the place, it served reasonable vegetarian/vegan options.

In general this was a very pleasant walk, with always nice and at times beautiful scenery, the heath section of Bucklebury Common being an interesting contrast to the fields and woods on the rest of the walk. There were some fine valley views and plenty of fungi in the woods, though still relatively little autumn colour. Just after lunch we picked up great handfuls of freshly fallen sweet chestnuts.

Five of us stopped for tea at the Bucklebury Farm Park (whose “Woody’s Cafe” is now the “Honesty Cafe”). The rest of the group wandered around looking at the alpacas. When we set off there was a polite but slightly odd conversation with the farm staff, which I could summarise by saying that they wish the footpath did not cross fields with their animals in. They pointed out (but apparently declined to signpost) a very reasonable alternative route which some of us followed.

We did the shorter Midgham Park ending and got to the Rowbarge Inn about 5.30pm, making this walk the ideal length for the day. After a convivial stop of an hour or two we variously got the 6.27 and 7.27 trains.