Thursday, 24 July 2008

Hungerford to Combe Gibbet (Berkshire Way 2)

Hungerford Common

This is the second stage of the BBC's Berkshire Way. The official start point is Hungerford Station, but we started a few hundred yards further on at the edge of the common. The 200 acre common (or "public access land" as the signs carefully call it) is still used for grazing cattle and both the town gate (Down gate) and Inkpen gate are protected by cattle grids. The picture above looks back across the common from the Inkpen gate (the cows are on the left).

The next stage of the walk heads due south first along the Inkpen road and then on a farm road. After a farm the route veers east through more farmland and then the slightly suburban fringe of the sprawling village of Inkpen.

Leaving Inkpen you begin the long, initially gentle but progressively more taxing, climb up to Inkpen Hill and Gallows Down.

Gallows Down

We have done this part of the walk before: in January we did a circular walk which included Inkpen Beacon. So we knew to expect the hard diagonal climb up the side of the down (visible in the photo above) to reach the ridge.

Looking back from Inkpen Hill

The views from the slope back towards Hungerford are impressive. Once you reach the ridge, the Test Way, it is a short walk along it until you come to Combe Gibbet (photo and some notes in my posting about the earlier walk). The views to the south are also a delight.

View to the south from Gallows Down

Rating: Four stars.

Explorer 158 (Newbury and Hungerford.

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