Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Newbury and Enborne

We moved to Newbury at the end of last year and one of many positives is that it is possible to walk away from our house to the west and soon be in open country behind Enborne Gate Farm. It seems that this cornfield were once part of the site of the First battle of Newbury (1643) during the English Civil War. See here for a map.

We walked along two sides of the field and looked south (I think towards Round Hill) towards a further expanse of corn.

There are loads of butterflies around: Meadow Browns and Ringlets, Skippers (including my first Essex Skipper of the year) and lots of Small and Large Whites. This was an especially nice example.

The field edge path passes through a strip of woodland and emerges onto a road. A right turn leads to a path through a grassy meadow and alongside another one right by the busy A34. I see my first Gatekeepers of the year and get a nice group shot of three Marbled Whites. There seem to be lots of this beautiful butterfly to be seen at the moment.

Crossing the footbridge over the A34 brings a new landscape of parkland, possible once part of nearby Hamstead Park

On the far side, we turned left along the road and passed Avery's Pightle, now a nature reserve. A pightle is a small field or enclosure. A right turn brings us past some houses and uphill to a rather wonderful sight just near Enborne Road: a vineyard!

Googling reveals that it is known, very reasonably, as Enborne Vineyard - and is one of six in Berkshire. I hadn't realised that viniculture had reached our county.

Turning right along Enborne  Road, we soon reached Enborne Church. This is a Norman church with arcades dating from about 1170. Much of the exterior is the result of a late Victorian restoration.

We now continued along the road to take a left at Enborne Copse and walk towards the Kennet and Avon Canal. On the right as we left the woodland is a rather lovely plantation of young trees.  

This is the view along the canal looking towards Benham Lock.

Heading east along the canal towards Newbury we kept pace with a canal boat for quite a while, only let it pass us when I stopped to take a picture of these lovely waterlilies. Indicative, I suppose, of a very slow rate of flow.

At Enborne bridge, we turned right towards Enborne Road, passing this rather lovely building on the way.

Conditions: a lovely warm day, if a bit cloudy.

Distance:  about 5 miles.

Map: Explorer 158 (Newbury & Hungerford).

Rating: three and half stars. A really nice walk to be able to do from home.

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