Thursday, 19 July 2018

Welford to Newbury (Lambourn Valley Way 3)

Cornfields near Welford

This is the third and final stage of the Lambourn Valley Way (Stage 2 is described here). We set off from the edge of Welford Park and walked though a bit of woodland to emerge into a wonderful landscape of corn fields.

We crossed the M4 and arrived at Tulloch Farm which had simple, but elegantly shaped barn.

Further great expanses of golden corn followed.

As we approached Boxford we passed a pig farm with a cast of adult pigs standing or wallowing in muddy water and piglets prancing around likes lambs. I hope my grandchildren will like this photo when I show them.

Entering the village we passed a lovely thatched house on the left ...

... crossed a small bridge over the Lambourn, with a wonderful late Victorian sign warning that "persons in charge of locomotive traction engines and other ponderous carriages are warned against attempting the passage of the bridge".

This was the view of the river from  the other side of the bridge.

And finally there was surely a former mill.

We continued parallel to the river, but out of sight of it, in an arc beneath Hoar Hill. We recently discovered a vineyard in Enborne, rather to our surprise, but here was a rather newer but absolutely massive one. The picture shows maybe a quarter of the vines. It would be great to soon be drinking locally made sparkling wine!

At the end of this section we entered a short but rather lovely section of woodland.

Emerging from it, there was another cornfield with the green river valley behind it.

Soon afterwards we reached Woodspeen and Bagnor Manor. We had just a glimpse of a substantial Georgian house. Reaching Bagnor we passed the Watermill Theatre and crossed the pretty Winterbourne stream.

After a refreshing drink at the inviting Blackbird pub we headed away from the Lamborn towards Speen (there is an alternative route via Donnington, butthat would have taken us too far away from our destination, our home.

Speen offerfed this delightful late Victorian village hall ...

.. this sort of barn raised on stone toadstools ...

... and the substantial church of St Mary, set in very large church yard with a large number of grave stones. The church is medieval in origin, but what you see now is almost entirely the result of 19th century rebuilding.

We walked past waterworks and parallel to Speen Lane to arrive at Northcroft Park and, soon afterwards, the Kennet & Avon canal. Another half a mile or so brought us home.

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

Distance: 7.5 miles.

Map: Explorer 158 (Newbury & Hungerford).

Rating: four stars. A really nice walk and rather lovely to end it at our own house.

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