Aldermaston to Woolhampton via Frilsham walk

West Berkshire Downs: ancient woodlands, commons, pretty villages, historical pubs, chalk streams, water meadows, heathland, finishes via landscaped park or the Kennet canal.

St. Matthews, Midgham SWC Walk 260 Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Frilsham)

St. Matthews, Midgham

SWC Walk 260 Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Frilsham)

02-Apr-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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House in Beenham, north of route SWC Walk 260 Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Frilsham)

House in Beenham, north of route

SWC Walk 260 Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Frilsham)

02-Apr-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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View out of Burgess Copse SWC Walk 260 Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Frilsham)

View out of Burgess Copse

SWC Walk 260 Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Frilsham)

02-Apr-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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The Pot Kiln pub across a meadow SWC Walk 260 Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Frilsham)

The Pot Kiln pub across a meadow

SWC Walk 260 Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Frilsham)

02-Apr-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Up through Midgham Park SWC Walk 260 Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Frilsham)

Up through Midgham Park

SWC Walk 260 Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Frilsham)

02-Apr-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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View north east of Shrub Wood SWC Walk 260 Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Frilsham)

View north east of Shrub Wood

SWC Walk 260 Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Frilsham)

02-Apr-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Deer in Garden of Farm by Shrub Wood SWC Walk 260 Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Frilsham)

Deer in Garden of Farm by Shrub Wood

SWC Walk 260 Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Frilsham)

02-Apr-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk260 26249467416 G-T-TG

Length 22.9 km (14.2 mi), with 407/404m ascent/descent. For a longer and a shorter walk see below Walk Options.
Toughness 6 out of 10, with 5 hours 15 minutes walking time. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 8 ½ hours.
Walk Notes

This walk explores a surprisingly quiet part of the commuter area that is West Berkshire, less than an hour from Central London. It is a mildly undulating landscape with some fine views over unspoilt countryside - the West Berkshire Downs, part of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and consisting 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.

An optional westerly extension leads through more fascinating, undulating woods and the large and impressive Iron Age hillfort site of Grimsbury Castle.

Walk Options

You can lengthen the walk by routing along a more westerly route. This adds 4.2 km (2.6 mi) and 68m ascent, and is rated 7/10 (and a diversion to a late lunch stop in Hermitage adds another 2.3 km).
Bus Line 41 (Thatcham - Theale) stops in Upper Bucklebury and Chapel Row, Mon – Fri.
Bus Line 6 (West Ilsley - Newbury) stops in Hermitage, the late lunch stop on the extended walk, Mon-Sat only, with the last departure at 15.45 (as of 07/2021). Newbury is further down the line than Midgham.
For a shorter walk (which also has an option for an additional shortcut), with the same start and finish, but a completely different middle part, try SWC 117 Aldermaston to Woolhampton (via Stanford Dingley).

Maps OS Explorer: 159 (Reading, Wokingham & Pangbourne) & 158 (Newbury & Hungerford)
OS Landranger: 174 (Newbury & Wantage) & 175 (Reading & Windsor)
Travel

Aldermaston station, map reference SU 601 673, is 71 km west of Charing Cross, 13 km south west of Reading and 54m above sea level; Midgham station, map reference SU 572 666, is 3 km west of Aldermaston and 57m above sea level, both are in West Berkshire. Both stations are on the Berkshire and Hampshire line from Reading to Newbury (and on to Bedwyn and Taunton). Journey times are from 47 minutes Mon-Fri (hourly), 51 mins Sat (hourly) and 53 minutes Sun (between hourly and two-hourly). Change at Reading. Midgham station is one stop further from London with a journey time from 49 minutes.

Saturday Walkers' Club: Take the train closest to 9.30 hours.

Lunch

The Six Bells, The Green, Beenham, RG7 5NX (T: 01189 713 368). A possible very early lunch stop. Located 2.8 km from the start of the walk.
The Blackbird Cafe, Chapel Row, Bucklebury, RG7 6PD (T: 01189 712 332). A possible early lunch stop. Located 5.1 km from the start of the walk.
The Bladebone at Bucklebury, Chapel Row, Bucklebury, RG7 6PD (T: 01189 714 000). A possible early lunch stop. Located 5.1 km from the start of the walk.
The Pot Kiln, Frilsham, Yattendon, RG18 0XX (T: 01635 201 366). The recommended lunch stop on the full walk. Located 9.7 km from the start of the walk.
The Fox Inn, High Street, Hermitage, Thatcham, RG18 9RB (T:01635 200 772). The recommended lunch stop on the extended walk. Located – 1.2 km off-route – 15.4 km from the start of the walk.
The White Horse of Hermitage, Newbury Road, Hermitage, Thatcham, RG18 9TB (T: 01635 200 325). A possible lunch stop on the extended walk. Located – 1.8 km off-route – 16.0 km from the start of the walk.

Tea

The Cottage Inn, 26 Broad Lane, Upper Bucklebury, RG7 6QJ (T: 01635 864 544). A possible early tea stop. Located 480m off-route, 5.9 km from the end of the walk.
The Coach & Horses, Bath Road, Midgham, RG7 5UX (01189 713 384). A possible early tea stop. Located 3.3 km from the end of the walk.
The Angel Inn, Bath Road, Woolhampton, RG7 5RT (01189 713 307).
The Rowbarge, Station Road, Woolhampton, RG7 5SH (01189 712 213).

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National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

Dec-21 Thomas G

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Walk Directions  

Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk