Kennet Valley and Hampshire Downs, from Wooten's

Kennet Valley and Hampshire Downs, from Wooten's

SWC Walk 117 Aldermaston to Woolhampton (via Stanford Dingley)

23-Feb-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Midgham Church

Midgham Church

Aldermaston to Woolhampton

28-Jan-12 • moontiger on Flickr

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Hedgerow and branches

Hedgerow and branches

Aldermaston to Woolhampton

28-Jan-12 • moontiger on Flickr

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Along the Kennet & Avon canal

Along the Kennet & Avon canal

Aldermaston to Woolhampton

28-Jan-12 • moontiger on Flickr

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Scene near Oakwood Farm, Beenham

Scene near Oakwood Farm, Beenham

SWC Walk 117 Aldermaston to Woolhampton (via Stanford Dingley)

23-Feb-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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in King's Copse, Stanford Dingley

in King's Copse, Stanford Dingley

SWC Walk 117 Aldermaston to Woolhampton (via Stanford Dingley)

23-Feb-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Murals, St. Denys', Stanford Dingley (II)

Murals, St. Denys', Stanford Dingley (II)

SWC Walk 117 Aldermaston to Woolhampton (via Stanford Dingley)

23-Feb-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Aldermaston to Woolhampton via Stanford Dingley walk

Quiet and scenic West Berkshire Downs: woodlands, fields, commons, chalk stream valleys, heathland, finish along a canal or through parkland.

History

This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date # Post
Wed, 04-Oct-17 8

Return of the Moonlight Special (hopefully)  

SWC Walk 117: Aldermaston to Woolhampton (via Stanford Dingley) with possible extension back to Aldermaston or on to Theale T=SWC.117

Distance: 12.6 miles or 20.3 km for those more metrically minded (14.6 miles (23.5km) or 18.6 miles (30 km) with the Aldermaston or Theale extensions, respectively)

Difficulty: 5 out of 10

Train: Take the 10:30 AM Great Western train from London Paddington, changing at Reading (arrive 10:55; depart 11:12), arriving at Aldermaston at 11:25. Return trains (all requiring a change at Reading unless otherwise noted) from Midgham (Woolhampton) are at 17:23; 18:24; 18:31 (change Newbury); 19:29 (change Newbury); 20:08 (change Theale) ; 21:02; 21:34; 22:24; from Aldermaston at 17:27; 18:06 (no change); 18:28; 19:25 (change Newbury); 20:12 (change Theale); 21:05; 21:38; 22:28; and from Theale at 18:11 (no change); 18:33; 19:06 (no change); 19:20 (Newbury); 20:24 (no change); 21:10; 21:43; 22:33 . Buy a day return to Midgham.
This walk explores a quiet corner of West Berkshire with undulating countryside and fine views. It also goes through the Bucklesbury Estate and the elevated Bucklesbury Common, one of the largest in the Southeast of England. The walk includes a variety of woods, common and large heathland. ALSO, as Wednesday is just one day before the full moon, if the weather conditions smile on us (and hopefully to atone for the debacle in January), it may be possible to extend the walk with an early evening moonlit stretch along the Avon & Kennet Canal back to Aldermaston (2 miles/3km-ish) and eventually Theale (6 miles/10km-ish). You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.
The recommended lunch pub is the Bull Inn (01189 744 582) in Stanford Dingley (5.2 miles/8.4 km into the walk). Tea can be had at the very pleasant Rowbarge Inn near Midgham Station. If doing the extension, the Butt Inn at Aldermaston Wharf and various pubs near Theale Station (mostly clustered on the High Street) can also quench your thirst...
Enjoy the walk!
Please remember those of us requiring the time of the train from Ealing Broadway. Its the 10.05.
Although grey clouds were abundant, for a Wednesday of late, the conditions were quite pleasant dry with patches of sun and moon and made for a very enjoyable autumnal outing for the 8 who disembarked from the train at Aldermaston. The morning terrain was very picturesque with rolling fields and some woods starting to tint. Lunch was a rather amusing affair with good intentions and mistake by yours truly, we booked from the train station at the "other" Stanford Dingley pub. A brief separation in the group before lunch meant that the error could not be rectified before it was too late....So with more than a little doubt, we spent some time in a rather rustic pub awaiting our orders from a rather basic looking menu (all in name of good SWC research of course) discussing interesting dining establishments in and around London. After quite some time and hearing lots of feverish chopping from the kitchen much to our surprise several well presented, interesting and tasty meals arrived (the only disappointment being some bread due to a failed delivery). So yes, the other pub is also a good option....The afternoon route passed through a small animal park with some interesting critters and across the heathland of Bucklesbury Common before an always lovely descent to Midgham. Most caught the 18:24 leaving one behind who continued on to Aldermaston along the canal to catch a few glimpses of a great big moon before it disappeared behind some clouds...offering a brief taste of the highlights to come during the approaching winter evenings....
Sat, 15-Oct-16 15

Second Walk – Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] (via Stanford Dingley)

Quiet and scenic, rolling West Berkshire countryside: woodlands, fields, commons, chalk stream valleys (Kennet, Bourne, Pang), heathland, finish along canal or through parkland.

Length: 20.3 km (12.6 mi) [shorter walk possible, see pdf]
Ascent/Descent: 301 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 4 ½ hours
Toughness: 5 out of 10
Take the 09.32 Bristol Temple Meads train from Paddington, change at Reading: arrives 09.57, departs 10.12 (Newbury Train, usually departing from Platform 1); arriving Aldermaston at 10.25
Return trains: xx.24 to 19.24, then 20.10, 21.17, 22.29 hours (change at Reading, from 63 mins journey time). Buy a Midgham return.
First posting of the full version of this former map led walk, the short version has been premiered in rather wet conditions on a Wednesday in February (participants may remember vividly): “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. “

There are plenty of pubs on and just off route (see the webpage for details), but the recommended lunch stop is The Bull Inn in Stanford Dingley (8.4 km/5.2 mi).
For tea there are now two options: The Angel Inn has reopened, and there is The Rowbarge Inn, both in Woolhampton, 2 minutes from Midgham station.
For walk directions, map, height profile, and gpx/kml files click here.
T=swc.117
15 walkers, with the initial clouds lifting around 11.00 o'clock, for a sunny day thereafter (heavy rain though later while on the train back to London). The group stayed together to the lunch pub, where some had a second drink, while the majority moved on. Those few also had a mid afternoon stop at (after a diversion to) The Cottage Inn in Upper Bucklebury, so arrived in Woolhampton much later than the main group.
Proper countryside quite close to London, hardly any other walkers met all day, some beautiful villages, and a nice pub providing for fast delivery of very fine doorstop sandwiches and other assorted goods. Lunch was had outside on benches in front of the pub in the sun, not a bad result for mid Oct.
Some corrections to the directions are necessary around the Bucklebury Common heathland, as the scenery is now much different now from when the walk research was done in deep winter.
16.24 train for 10, after a 30 mins stop in The Rowbarge. 17.24 for the other 5, who gave The Angel a try (which is fine, but not as atmospheric as The Rowbarge).
Wed, 17-Feb-16 15

Midweek Day Walk [Fully Revised] - Aldermaston to Woolhampton [Midgham Station] short option


…by special arrangement, Arthur D. has relinquished the walk poster role for this Wednesday, so that we can give this 'new' walk a run-out, thanks ever so much!
SWC Walk 117a – Rolling West Berkshire countryside: woodlands, fields, commons, chalk stream valleys (Kennet, Bourne), heathland, finish along canal or through parkland. Quiet and scenic. Not too muddy
Length: 16.6 km (10.3 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 240 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 4 hours
Toughness: 3 out of 10
Take the 10.30 Bristol Temple Meads train from Paddington, arriving Aldermaston at 11.25; change at Reading: arrives 10.55, departs 11.12 (Newbury Train, usually on Platform 1)
Missed the 10.30? The 10.45 might still suffice: you have three minutes at Reading to get from Platform 9 to Platform 1 (note to self…)
Return trains: 16.24, 17.23, 18.24, 19.29, 20.08 hours (change at Reading, 58-70 minutes journey time)
Buy a Midgham return.
First posting of this former map lead walk, newly re-routed, split into two and fully written up, we will take the opportunity to check the walk directions of the short version of the first 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 and the Bourne. It also leads through parts of the Bucklebury Estate, one of the largest in the South, namely the elevated Bucklebury Common, which includes one of Berkshire’s largest heathlands. At the end there is a choice of finishes either along the Kennet & Avon Canal or through the landscaped Midgham Park. “

The recommended lunch option is The Cottage Inn in Upper Bucklebury (9.5 km/5.9 mi), which has won a Best Community Pub award for two years running.
For tea The Rowbarge Inn in Woolhampton, 2 minutes from Midgham station, is the only option.
For walk directions, map, height profile, and gpx/kml files click here.
T=swc.117.a
L=swc.117.a
Intend going. The Rowbarge Inn near Midgham Station is a large gastro pub ideal for drinks and early evening supper for those who like to linger. I seem to remember some very boggy sections even in summer so high cuff boots are recommended!
Having walked this repeatedly over the last weeks, I can re assure you that the mud levels are nothing out of the ordinary. A few stretches in the woods of course need careful attention, but all else is fine.
I might attend the walk. But I can't Guarantee I will.
The Ealing Broadway contingent will catch the 10.05 changing at Reading
I hope to do this walk but also want to go to a dance event in the evening.
This may mean I have to walk faster or that I have to bale out mid afternoon.jfk

15 drizzle set in during morning with steady rain all afternoon

Another good turn out for a mid week walk, particularly as the weather forecast was not favourable. Setting off on the shorter, 10 mile version of this walk in West Berkshire, we were soon in pleasant countryside a good mixture of woodland, farmland, heaths and commons, with views of river valleys, and some lovely churches to visit en route. Mud levels, to be expected in the woods, were very manageable all day and never spoilt the walk. We stopped for a late lunch at the Cottage Inn in Upper Bucklebury and although the Landlord seemed to take an age taking our orders, he did so cheerfully, and his food was well worth the wait. The morning's drizzle having morphed into steady rain, it was time to don full waterproofs as we set off on the afternoon leg, soon freelancing across Bucklebury Common. Thomas had forgotten to tell us to stow inflatable dinghies in our back packs, so we had to negotiate the flooded sections best we could. Having done so, we were soon on firmer footing as we progressed along country lanes towards St Matthew's Church, Midgham, before we set off on the last leg of our walk a relaxing stroll along the Kennet and Avon Canal our water feature for the day (apart from the rain). 5 stopped for refreshments at the cozy Rowbarge Inn by Midgtham station, leaving those still left in the group to catch the 17 23 hrs train to Reading, for a quick change to a fast service back to Paddington.
Today's walk turned out to be surprisingly good with lots of variety, some lovely valley views, no steep hills just a few inclines to keep a walker honest and excellent lunch and tea stops. Well worth repeating in early autumn.


Ive just finished cleaning the acidic silt off my high cuff leather boots by Meindle. Thankfully my feet were the only part of me that kept dry during this soggy rainy day. The Rowbarge pub provided excellent tea, salad and hot soup to revive us helped by a couple of bottles of Sauvignon Blanc to cheer our spirits whilst we waited for our apparel to dry out on the radiator commissioned by our property sales and maintenance adviser.

The train home we selected was cancelled without explanation so a second visit to the pub was required for more refreshment. By this time the conversation had revved up a gear reminiscing about absent friends no longer seen on regular walks. DAC you are sorely missed. Please come and join us one day!

Eventually catching the 21.02 train changing at Reading to the express for Paddington we enjoyed the empty first class restaurant car minus dinner with much hilarity and in my case a dash to the Heathrow connect and the bus home to Brentford. What a wonderful day for socialising in spite of the rain.
I count myself lucky that I did not drown in a quagmire as a result of this expedition, and a glass of wine at lunchtime would surely have resulted in that outcome; note to brain, extra lie in tomorrow and thanks of course to Thomas for his excellent maritime navigational skills. Additionally, I have learnt that much of West Berkshire is peat bog which I can only think has something to do with its proximity to Wales. Recently I had considered investing in a flotation tank session but now appreciate that it costs no more to do this walk, plus you get a 'free' lunch.
When I win the lottery, I shall purchase the latest technology rainwear, until which time, it may have to be an industrial strength plastic bag.
Nevertheless, every cloud has a silver lining and the walk finished with Annie calling me a 'slut', which ordinarily might be considered as insult added to injury, but in this case, may be a sign of a burgeoning friendship. What is it you say over there Karen 'Some days you eat the bear'? Thank heavens the sun came out.
Well, my dear friends of The Great Outdoors...
A recent, timely, multi year study published by the European Fund For The Furtherment Of The Outdoor Industry (EFFTFOTOI) has come to these groundbreaking conclusions:
A. If you spend all day outdoors on a cold and wet winter day without waterproof jackets, trousers and gloves, you will get wet and cold (your local outdoor store will offer you gear for the occasion at a wide variety of price points).
B. Once you are wet and cold, you will stay wet and cold, until after a hot shower and a rubdown.
C. If you carry paper instructions or maps without an appropriate rain cover on a non stop rainy day, they will get soggy and unusable (your local outdoor store will offer you solutions at a small fortune, your local stationary store will offer you solutions at fractions of a penny).
D. If on a rainy day in a wet winter you wear low slung, fabric 'summer' shoes, you run the risk (some would say certainty) of water and mud ingress (your local outdoor store will sell you waterproof boots at a wide variety of price points; they are waterproof at time of purchase and will stay waterproof if you follow the care instructions).
E. Grassy slopes and standing water on tarmac or gravel paths near the end of a walk are great opportunities to clean the boots.
F. There's always the sofa.

I maintain my point that this walk had no unusual levels or percentages of muddy bits, considering it contained woods and commons, and that all but 2 3 steep bits in the woods were easily negotiable. The one unusual feature (heathland paths ankle deep under water) I found quite hilarious, others might differ (but they were easy to avoid by walking through the heather, anyway).
Keep Walking...
Thomas, I appreciate and value your leadership and navigational skills without the slightest reservation. My sense of humour may be an acquired taste, in that unlike the British weather, it can be bone dry, but rarely intentionally offensive, and certainly not on this occasion. Having reproofed the jacket, I was hopeful that it might save me from the worst.Had I mummified myself with a toilet roll, it may have been more effective. I shall determinedly look into this [reproofing, not wrapping myself in toilet roll], as I am reluctant to throw the thing away. Ironically, the 'summer boots', which had also been treated,lasted the course very well.Trousers, not a major issue.Major issue: Knees. Did fabulously well, very proud of them. More demanding than last wednesday, but still manageable. For the time being, I shall stick to level four and under. In the mean time, keep trekking
Sun, 26-Jan-14 0 Aldermaston to Woolhampton
Sun, 21-Oct-12 Aldermaston to Woolhampton
Sat, 28-Jan-12 Aldermaston to Woolhampton
Sun, 13-Nov-11 Woolhampton Circular
Wed, 06-Apr-11 Aldermaston to Woolhampton