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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, 9 November 2019

Saturday Walk - Autumnal Colours, Autumnal Food: Aldermaston to Woolhampton (via Frilsham): woodlands, fields, commons, chalk stream valleys, heathland.

In Reverse and map-led if you want to be sure of a place at The Pot Kiln!

Length: 22.7 km (14.1 mi) [longer walk possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 430 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ¼ hours
Toughness: 7 out of 10

Take the 09.30 Bristol Temple Meads train from Paddington, change at Reading (09.55/10.12, Newbury Train, usually departing from Platform 1), arriving Aldermaston at 10.25 and Midgham at 10.29.
From Ealing B’way take the 09.05 Didcot service, change at Reading (09.50/10.12).
Return trains: xx.27 until 19.27, then 20.19, 21.16 hours (change at Reading, 55-62 minutes journey time). Trains are calling Aldermaston 4 minutes later.
Buy a Midgham return.

 “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. A long section of the walk leads 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 through the landscaped Midgham Park or along the Kennet & Avon Canal.
Carrying map and compass is recommended, as there are plenty of paths in the woods and on the heath.
An optional westerly extension leads through more fascinating, undulating woods and the large and impressive Neolithic hillfort site of Grimsbury Castle.
This version of the walk (26.8 km/16.7 mi, more if you lunch in Hermitage) is rated 8/10. “

Lunch: The Pot Kiln in Frilsham (9.7 km/6.0 mi) or The Cottage Inn in Upper Bucklebury (17.2 km/10.7 mi, food to 15.00).
Lunch (if walking in reverse): The Pot Kiln in Frilsham (13.0 km/8.1 mi), regarded as one of Britain's best country pub restaurants (a table has been booked), or The Bladebone  (food to 14.30) in Chapel Row (5.1 km from the end).
On the extended walk, other lunch options exist in Hermitage (The Fox Inn, food to 14.30, and The White Horse), but they are off-route and add 2.3 km (more for the 2nd pub), see the pdf for details. 

Tea: The Angel Inn or The Rowbarge Inn in Woolhampton (for Midgham Station), The Butt Inn in Aldermaston Wharf (open all day).
For walk directions, map, photos, height profile, and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.260


Anonymous said...

Hi. Newbie and a bit confused. Where do you think most people will start this walk? Thank you.

Thomas G said...

Aldermaston. We all meet on the platform at Reading waiting for the Newbury train, and it'll become clear then who does what.

Anonymous said...

Merci bien.

Thomas G said...

Da nicht für.

Thomas G said...

Smashing autumn colours early on in Midgham Park, and better still in some of the woods in the middle of the route, very vivid despite there being no sunshine at all. The mud situation was not too bad, most importantly it was never gooey or clingy, so in conjunction with the constant rain (as of 12.00), the gear stayed relatively presentable. Bucklebury Common was (perhaps surprisingly, judging by past experience) NOT under water, but later there was one pasture with plenty standing water and deeply-rutted-by-hoofs stretches, just before lunch.
Lunch at the wonderful Pot Kiln it was, of course. We arrived 15 minutes before the booking but our table was available straight away. All n=4 ordered the Venison Shoulder as their main course, and it was an allround delight, accompanied by some very nice red. After about 100 minutes it was time to move on, by then knowing that we'd have about an hour of walking in darkness to contend with. More stunning woods were to come (again with impressive mushrooms), a few corners of the route were cut when it was dark, as views weren't to be had anymore anyway and - close to Aldermaston station - one walker on dinner-for-the-kids cooking duty started to run to catch the 17.31 (which he did catch), us remaining 3 walked on to The Butt Inn to await the 18.31.
All in, the most fun you could possible have - with your waterproofs on...