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|Lambourn and Eastbury Down|
|Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 03 Nov 2016||Walk rating : Rating:|
|Berkshire, West Berkshire|
|A 7 mile circular walk from the village of Lambourn in West Berkshire. Lambourn is a pretty village nestled alongside a small chalk stream in the Valley of the Racehorse and is well worth exploring before or after your walk. The route takes you on quiet lanes and peaceful tracks to explore the surrounding rolling hills and chalk downs, home only to crop fields and some gallops used for training racehorses. The views across the valley are spectacular, there’s a pretty thatched village along the way and, aside from the odd thunder of hooves, your tranquillity will probably be interrupted only by the song of a skylark! |
The route has several long climbs and descents throughout but there is nothing too steep to contend with. The tops of the downs are very exposed and can be very windy so take appropriate clothing. The tracks are generally well made but can be muddy in part throughout the year and can get very sticky in winter, so good boots are a must. There are no stiles on route, just a couple of gates and kissing gates to negotiate. The vast majority of the route follows grass tracks between woodlands and arable fields, with a couple of short stretches on quiet roads. There are no cattle or sheep fields to cross, but you will need to cross the horse gallops once (just wait for a suitable gap if there are horses training) and the walk also crosses one horse paddock towards the end (this can be avoided if you prefer by following a short stretch of road instead). Allow 3.5 hours.
The village of Lambourn is located just north of the M4 (nr Junction 14), between Swindon and Newbury. It lies within Berkshire but is very close to the borders with Oxfordshire and Wiltshire. The walk starts and finishes at the southern end of Mill Lane, near to the junction with Newbury Road (this junction is the site of The Lamb pub, which was closed at the time of writing). There is usually roadside parking available on Mill Lane, but please park with respect for the local residents. Nearest post code RG17 8YP (which takes you further north along Mill Lane).
|Start to Long Hedge|
Start point: 51.5067 lat, -1.5255 long
The walk starts from the southern end of Mill Lane. Head south along the right-hand pavement to reach the road junction with Newbury Road, with a grass circle at its centre (and the old Lamb pub on your right). Follow the pavement as it swings right, passing the fire station on your left. Ignore the first footpath on the left (immediately after the fire station), instead continue for 60 metres and then cross over to turn left into the side road, Bodman Close (signed as part of the Lambourn Valley Way). Fork immediately left to join the stone path between fences and hedges.
|Long Hedge to Beechdown Crossroads|
Start point: 51.5018 lat, -1.519 long
Follow this quiet access lane, climbing steadily. Further up, as the tree line on your left ends and just before you draw level with Chipping Lodge on your right, you will be rewarded with glorious views to your left back over Lambourn Valley and Lambourn village with the church tower at its centre. This is a good spot to pause and learn more about the area.
|Beechdown Crossroads to Gallops|
Start point: 51.5167 lat, -1.5065 long
Turn right here, signed as another Byway, and follow the quiet lane climbing steadily. Pass Starlight Farm on your left and follow the unmade track ahead (which can get very muddy in part). You will come to a fork in the track with a farm gate ahead. Take the right-hand branch of the track, leading you steadily downhill through Eastbury Down.
|Gallops to Eastbury Village|
Start point: 51.5147 lat, -1.4913 long
NOTE: Ensure you look and listen carefully to make sure there are no horses coming before you proceed. Go straight ahead crossing over these gallop tracks and pick up the footpath track at the far side, continuing ahead with a hedgerow on your left. Continue on this sandy track and, where it swings away left, go ahead to join the grass track heading steadily downhill. This section of Eastbury Down with its uninterrupted rolling fields is particularly popular with skylarks, listen out for the distinctive song from overhead.
|Eastbury Village to Cleeve Crossroads|
Start point: 51.4939 lat, -1.5034 long
Turn left along the road edge for just 15 paces and then cross over to turn right onto the small side road signed as a byway. This leads you back over the River Lambourn alongside the large thatched Old Iron House. Do NOT follow the lane as it swings hard left, instead keep ahead to join the stone track called Corney Street.
|Cleeve Crossroads to Bockhampton Road|
Start point: 51.4885 lat, -1.5213 long
Turn right and follow this wide unmade track with a tree line on your left and open crop fields on your right. The track leads you steadily uphill passing a smaller woodland, Thornhill Copse, on your left and with superb views on your right once again. When the woodland ends, the track begins to descend with a clear view of Lambourn village in the valley bottom ahead.
|Bockhampton Road to End|
Start point: 51.5021 lat, -1.5217 long
From this point you will be re-tracing your steps back to the start. Go ahead on the lane, passing Upper Bockhampton Farmhouse on your right and then forking right into the entrance yard of the next property. Cross the rough meadow via the two gates and you will emerge into the sports field. Go ahead on the footpath, passing just to the right of the club building and seating stand.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.
The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.
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