Berkshire Walk – July 2015

Take a walk through the rolling West Berkshire countryside visiting Chapel Row and Beenham, in the North Wessex Downs AONB. From Chapel Row – home to The Bladebone pub and Blackbird Cafe – the walk heads through fields and woods to reach Upper Woolhmapton, home to the impressive Douai Abbey. Leave behind the abbey and head for Beenham, passing St Mary’s Church and The Six Bells pub, before meandering back to Chapel Row; published in the July 2015 issue of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life.

Douai Abbey, Upper Woolhampton
Douai Abbey, Upper Woolhampton

New Book – Walking in the North Wessex Downs

My latest book – Walking in the North Wessex Downs – has just been published by Cicerone – more details here: http://www.cicerone.co.uk/product/detail.cfm/book/728

Walking in the North Wessex Downs
Walking in the North Wessex Downs

This guidebook details 30 walks in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) covering parts of Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire.

Continue reading “New Book – Walking in the North Wessex Downs”

Explore the North Wessex Downs AONB

Take a look at the rolling chalk landscape of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), celebrating the region’s heritage from writer’s that have been inspired by the landscape, to the ominous outline of Combe Gibbet, the larger-than-life effigies at St Mary’s Church in Aldworth and the splendour of Highclere Castle; published in the June 2015 issue of Countryman Magazine.

For a much more detailed look at the North Wessex Downs take a look at The North Wessex Downs published by Hale Books (for more information about the book, please visit the Books Page on this website), whilst in the summer, the new Walking in the North Wessex Downs guide will be published by Cicerone; more details on the Books Page soon.

Image - The fascinating chalk landscape of the Vale of Pewsey
The fascinating chalk landscape of the Vale of Pewsey

Berkshire Views – June 2015

Take in five Berkshire views – Combe Gibbet high on the chalk downs near Inkpen, Greenham Common near Newbury, The peaceful River Thames at Cookham, Streatley Warren near Aldworth and the Copper Horse in Windsor Great Park; published in the June 2015 issue of Berkshire Life.

Image - Combe Gibbet - North Wessex Downs
Combe Gibbet – North Wessex Downs

Berkshire Walk – March 2015

Take a walk across the Red Line at Tidmarsh and Sulham, just to the west of Reading on the eastern edge of the North Wessex Downs AONB.

As well as passing through Tidmarsh with its thatched pub and picturesque Sulham with its manor house and church, the walk also meanders alongside the River Pang and passes several former WWII pillboxes that once formed part of the ‘GHQ Red Line’. Due to the possibility of a German invasion, Britain’s defences were hastily strengthened during WWII, with a complex series of barriers, or anti-tank lines, that made use of natural and man-made obstacles to form barriers with the primary purpose of delaying any German invasion forces; fortunately the barriers were never needed. The Red Line ran northwards from the Kennet and Avon Canal (another stop line) through the Sulham Gap to reach the River Thames and then headed upstream towards Abingdon; published in the March 2015 issue of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life.

Image - Meandering through the Berkshire countryside near Sulham
Meandering through the Berkshire countryside near Sulham

Hampshire Walk – March 2015

Head to Upton in the North Wessex Downs AONB, close to the border between Hampshire and Wiltshire, for a peaceful walk with views and a pub, to the north of Andover.

Upton, mentioned in the Domesday book and once held by Edith, Queen of Edward the Confessor, is home to picturesque flint-walled cottages and a pub – The Crown Inn. After leaving the hamlet, through which the River Swift sometimes flows, the walk meanders over the rolling chalk landscape passing a small pond known as Knyghtes Mere – some have suggested that knights may have watered their horses here on their way to the Crusades, or is that just wishful folklore ? – before heading back to Upton; published in the March 2015 issue of Hampshire Life.

Image - Heading towards Upton
Heading towards Upton

Berkshire Walk – January 2015

The village of East Ilsley, tucked in the North Wessex Downs AONB, was once famed for its sheep fairs that were second only to Smithfield Market in London, however, these days it’s a great place for a walk amongst the rolling contours of the Berkshire Downs. Although the last sheep fair was held in 1934, the village has recently started holding an annual Sheep Fair which, this year, will be held on the 7th June; published in the January 2015 issue of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life.

Image - East Ilsley
Village pond at East Ilsley

Hampshire Walk – November 2014

The latest walk is based around the picturesque village of Hurstbourne Tarrant – home to the George and Dragon pub – close to the southern edge of the North Wessex Downs AONB, and follows parts of the Test Way as well as passing a house with a Jane Austen connection; published in the November 2014 issue of Hampshire Life

Image - The walk follows the Test Way from Hurstbourne Tarrant to Ibthorpe
The walk follows the Test Way from Hurstbourne Tarrant to Ibthorpe

Berkshire Walk – October 2014

Take a walk through the Pang Valley in the eastern reaches of the North Wessex Downs AONB visiting the picturesque villages of Bradfield and Stanford Dingley, following a peaceful section of the River Pang and passing a couple of pubs and two interesting churches along the way; published in the October 2014 issue of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life

St Denys Church at Stanford Dingley
St Denys Church at Stanford Dingley