Clover field at Goring Heath
A Sunday walk from home, something we don't seem to have done much lately. This walk starts from the old Post Office in Goring Heath. You initially head off past two large fields of clover, grown for animal feed presumably. The individual flowers are easily passed by, but they are very attractive.
The route then passes through woodland to emerge briefly on to the A3074. You then double back through the grounds of Cane End House to walk through what was once a vineyard, but is now just a meadow.
You pass through the hamlet of Nuney Green and pass Whittles Farm, before quite suddenly emerging on a hillside looking down towards Mapledurham House, with the North Hampshire Downs visible on the horizon.
After descending, you follow a farm road along the valley bottom past the aptly named Bottom Farm. As you approach Mapledurham House you swing right along a track and just before the lodge to Hardwick House, you take a path back up the hillside. Apparently, Charles I played bowls here.
After a short, sharp climb we sat on the benech helpfully placed at the top to enjoy the lovely view over the Thames at Mapledurham Lock, with the house away to the left.
The route now leads through Bottom Wood, skirts the hamlet of Collins End and returns you to the old Post Office. Bottom Wood is a bit of a puzzle since most of is on a ridge at about 100m above sea level.
Conditions: warm, hazy sunshine.
Distance: 5 miles.
From: Rambling for Pleasure around Reading by David Bounds for the East Berks Ramblers.
Map: Explorer 159 (Reading, Wokingham and and Pangbourne).
Rating: three stars.
We previously did this walk in May 2005. It was interesting first of all to notice how selective my memory was of its key features. I could vividly recall the steep descent to the bottom near Mapledurham House and equally clearly recall the steep climb back up out of it. The rest was a complete blank.
The very pleasing thing was that the descent and subsequent climb seemed much less of a challenge now than in 2005 and we accomplished them very easily. All those heroic efforts on the South West Coast Path are clearly starting to pay dividends!
Flower of the day
We saw several of these Clustered Bellflowers on the chalky hillsides.