SWC Walk 260 – Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Frilsham): woodlands, fields, commons, chalk stream valleys (Kennet, Bourne, Pang), heathland.
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, arriving Aldermaston at 10.25; change at Reading: arrives 10.05, departs 10.12 (Newbury Train, usually departing from Platform 1). [!] NOTICE: as of today Bakerloo Line trains are [!] non-stopping at Paddington [!] (until mid-August), you have to walk from Edgware Road or Warwick Avenue stations (ca. 10 mins), or use other tube lines.
Return trains: XX.24 until 19.24, then 20.10, 21.17 hours (change at Reading, 65-79 minutes journey time)
Buy a Midgham return.
First posting of this former map led walk (SWC 117 old), now newly re-routed, split into two walks and fully written up, we will take the opportunity to check the walk directions of this second walk.
To quote the write-up: “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. “
The recommended lunch
options are The Pot Kiln
(9.7 km/6.0 mi), regarded as one of Britain's best country pub restaurants, or (at good pace) The Cottage Inn
in Upper Bucklebury
(17.2 km/10.7 mi). The Pot Kiln does not normally take bookings for groups larger than 6 on weekends, but we have two tables of 6 lined up...there are also endless seats outside. On the extended walk
, two other lunch options exist in Hermitage
, but they are off-route and add 2.3 km (more for the 2nd pub).
For tea The Rowbarge Inn
, 2 minutes from Midgham station, is the only option.
For walk directions
, height profile
, and gpx/kml files