Thursday, 23 April 2020

Chaddleworth and Whatcombe

 The Ibex, Chaddleworth

We have been in Self Isolation for some weeks but we have now discovered that the rules have changed: it is now acceptable to go out for a walk for exercise and to drive to the start point, provided the walk is longer than the drive. (And provided you actually have a walk rather than a picnic - not a problem for us!)

We set out from The Ibex pub at Chaddleworth (currently closed of course) and headed north east past these very pretty cottages ...

... and past Chaddleworth House to follow a path down to Manor Farm. The countryside to the west was very pleasant and wide open.

Some way off to the right was a large house which I am pretty sure is Woolley Park, rebuilt in 1799 and extended in 1858. According to Pevsner, there is a spectacular Staircase Hall.

We followed the path as it headed uphill and reaching the top of the slope had a lovely view down to Whatcombe.

We crossed the road and turned left into the large Whatcombe Estate. At first we were slightly puzzled by the scale of the Stud facilities, but we quickly realised it was really not far from the horse racing centre of Lambourn. We walked through the site and then climbed towards Kite Hill. This was the view back.

The path took us in a loop around some lovely woodland with loads of Bluebells.

As we passed Henley Farm I was delighted to see my first Red Admiral of the year.

We admired the white wisteria on the side of this outbuilding as we passed by.

We headed downhill, crossed what seemed to be an overflowing stream and headed towards Chaddleworth along a road and then up a steepish lane, once tarmaced, called Buttsfield Road.  This led us to another road which led us into Chaddleworth past the church. From Pevsner I learn that it dates from the 12th century. In the 19th century G E Street was employed to add the rather incongruous chancel which Pevsner drily says was "not one of his best works".

Conditions: a lovely sunny day.

Map: Explorer 158 (Newbury & Hungerford).

Distance: 6 miles

From: 50 walks in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire (AA)

Rating: four stars. How wonderful to be walking in the country again!

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