Sunday, 20 July 2008

Lambourn to Hungerford (Berkshire Way 1)

St Michael and All Angels, Lambourn

We've just made a wonderful discovery: the BBC has mapped out an informal Berkshire Way which traverses Berkshire from West to East over the course of 14 legs of up to seven or eight miles. It starts in Lambourn and finishes in Windsor. So today we did leg one, from Lambourn to Hungerford (7.5 miles). The full itinerary of the Berkshire Way is on the BBC website.

Each walk is linear so we had to take two cars and park one at the end, then drive on to the start in the other. So not very environmentally sound, but the alternatives involving public transport or taxis are hard work.

The walk starts in Lambourn by the church - near to the almshouses which so impressed me when I walked through here recently. You head south up the high street fork left onto a small path which leads to a series of tracks heading always in the same direction over the downs. There is a lovely view back to Lambourn.


The route crosses the old Roman Road, now the A4001, and then the M4, whose noise can be heard for a long way on the other side. There are some nice views now towards the North Wessex downs.

The final section is mainly on quiet lanes and reaches Hungerford at the banks of the Kennet, where there is first a beautiful former mill house and then a splendid bridge. The river was alive with ducks and coots, and trout could be seen in the clear water.

Rating: three and half stars. The vistas are limited for much of the walk by high hedges and there was a lot of tarmac in the latter stages. But what a lovely summer project to walk across your home county. We can't wait to do the next stage.

Map: Explorer 158 (Newbury and Hungerford).

Rating: three and half stars.

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