Quiet and scenic West Berkshire Downs: woodlands, fields, commons, chalk stream valleys, heathland, finish along a canal or through parkland.
20.3 km (12.6 mi)
OS Landranger 174; Explorer 158, 159
5 out of 10.
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. Lunch destination is the very pretty village of Stanford Dingley in the Pang Valley.
The walk also leads through the Bucklebury Estate, one of the largest in the South, and 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 along the Kennet & Avon Canal or through the landscaped Midgham Park.
You can shorten the walk around lunch, cutting 4.7 km/2.9 mi and 61m ascent, rated 3/10.
For a longer walk (which also has an option for an extension), with the same beginning and finish, but a completely different middle part, try SWC 260 Aldermaston to Woolhampton (via Frilsham).
Both stations are on the Berkshire and Hampshire line from Reading to Newbury (and on to Bedwyn and Taunton). Journey times are from 49 minutes Mon-Fri (hourly), 55 mins Sat (hourly) and 52 minutes Sun (two-hourly). Change at Reading, with the Newbury train usually departing from Platform 1. Midgham station is one stop further from London with a journey time from 50 minutes.
|Saturday Walkers Club||Take the train nearest to 09.30 hours for the recommended lunch stops. Later trains are possible, as some other lunch stops are reached after about an hour of walking.|
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Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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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