Berkshire Walk – July 2018

Head to East Berkshire for a walk through 3 picturesque villages – Waltham St Lawrence, Shottesbrooke & White Waltham.

Inquisitive sheep on the way to Shottesbrooke
Inquisitive sheep on the way to Shottesbrooke

The walk this month starts at picturesque Waltham St Lawrence, home to St Lawrence’s Church and the Bell pub. The church has Norman origins, although most of what you can see is 14th and 15th century.

The picturesque lychgate at Waltham St Lawrence
The picturesque lychgate at Waltham St Lawrence

The timber-framed 14th century pub is a great example of a Wealden hall-house and was given to the village in 1608 by Ralph Newbery, Lord of the Manor and onetime Master of the Royal Printing House of Queen Elizabeth I.

The historic Bell pub at Waltham St Lawrence
The historic Bell pub at Waltham St Lawrence

After leaving the village we head east to arrive at Shottersbrooke. Sir William Trussell, a former lord of the manor, was responsible for the building of the beautiful 14th century Church of St John the Baptist. The church, with its central, slender spire has been described as the ‘perfect English church’; nearby is the Tudor manor house of Shottesbrooke Park.

The beautiful outline of the Church of St John the Baptist, Shottesbrooke
The beautiful outline of the Church of St John the Baptist, Shottesbrooke

From here we continue east to reach White Waltham, home to St Mary’s Church which dates from Norman times, a cricket pitch and a pub, The Beehive. Just north of the village is the White Waltham Airfield. The de Havilland family bought the land in 1928 and opened the de Havilland School of Flying. The airfield, reputedly the largest civilian grass airfield in Europe, is now the home of the West London Aero Club.

Heading back along the path between White Waltham and Shottesbrooke
Heading back along the path between White Waltham and Shottesbrooke

Soon we pass close to the early 17th century Waltham Place, there has been a manor house on this site for the last thousand years, housing many distinguished owners including Turold, designer of the Bayeaux Tapestry. For details of the opening times of the gardens, tearoom and farm shop visit www.walthamplace.com.

The picturesque pond at Shottesbrooke
The picturesque pond at Shottesbrooke

From here we head west back to Shottesbrooke, admiring the wonderful view of the church, before completing a counter-clockwise loop back to the start; published in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life, July 2018.