Berkshire Walk – March 2018

North Wessex Downs AONB visiting the picturesque villages of Chaddleworth and Brightwalton.

Chaddleworth has a number of picturesque thatched cottages
Chaddleworth has a number of picturesque thatched cottages

Head to the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) for a wander through the rolling chalk landscape of the Berkshire Downs visiting the picturesque villages of Chaddleworth and Brightwalton. Situated to the north of Newbury, Chaddleworth, like its near neighbour, Brightwalton – which we visit later in the walk – dates back to the time of the Domesday Book, and probably much earlier than that.

St Andrew's Church, Chaddleworth
St Andrew’s Church, Chaddleworth

The manor at Chaddleworth was given to Robert d’Oyley by William the Conqueror and later belonged to the mother of Edward I. In the 16th century Henry VIII exchanged Chaddleworth for land in London, including St James’ Park, while Westminster got the parish of Chaddleworth; the Dean and Chapter of Westminster are still Chaddleworth’s patrons.

After taking in a view of Chaddleworth House, which dates back to the early 1800’s, we visit St Andrew’s Church which dates from the 12th-century with later additions. The church has a fine Norman zig-zag carved doorway and two 17th-century side chapels belonging to two local families; the Blandy’s and the Wroughton’s.

The Gothic revival styled All Saints Church, Brightwalton
The Gothic revival styled All Saints Church, Brightwalton

The walk then heads for Brightwalton once home to a moated monastic grange and chapel. A more recent addition was the 19th century Gothic revival styled All Saints Church, designed by the well-known ecclesiastical architect G E Street, which replaced a much earlier building.

After leaving Brightwalton the walk meanders through a patchwork landscape
After leaving Brightwalton the walk meanders through a patchwork landscape

After leaving the village we wander through a patchwork landscape of rolling fields down into the valley before heading back to Chaddleworth passing The Ibex pub; published in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life magazine, March 2018.

The pub sign for the Ibex at Chaddleworth
The pub sign for the Ibex at Chaddleworth