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The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill

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The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill
Author: Claire, Published: 25 Apr 2018 Walk Rating:star1 The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill Pub Walkstar1 The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill Pub Walkstar1 The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill Pub Walkstar1 The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill Pub Walkstar0 The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill Pub Walk
Berkshire, Kintbury
Walk Type: River or lakeside
The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill Pub Walk boot The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill Pub Walk
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0001_sunny The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill Pub WalkToday's weather
10 °C, Clear/sunny, Wind: 1 mph E
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0001_sunny The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill Pub Walk 0001_sunny The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill Pub Walk 0001_sunny The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill Pub Walk 0001_sunny The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill Pub Walk 0001_sunny The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill Pub Walk

A circular pub walk of just over 4 miles, from The Dundas Arms in Kintbury, Berkshire. The Dundas Arms is situated directly alongside the Kennet and Avon Canal, with a vast garden that is the perfect spot for post-walk refreshments. The walking route follows an idyllic stretch of towpath leading you between the river and canal, then climbs high onto Irish Hill for glorious views before looping through the undulating farmland of rolling fields, pretty copses and quiet lanes.

The walk has a few steady gradients, plus a couple of steeper climbs up onto Irish Hill. It follows a mixture of towpath, field paths, farm tracks and quiet lanes, with some stretches that can get muddy at times. You will need to negotiate 7 stiles, about half of which have enclosed wire fence surrounds, so dogs will need a lift over these. Most of the route is through arable land or fenced away from pastures, however you will cross one pasture that may be holding dairy cattle – this pasture can easily be avoided by following a stretch of quiet lane instead. Allow 2 to 2.5 hours.

Kintbury is located between Hungerford and Newbury, just south of the main A4 road. The walk starts and finishes from The Dundas Arms on Station Road, directly alongside the canal. If you are coming by train, Kintbury rail station is located just a one-minute walk from the pub. If you are coming by car, The Dundas Arms has a small car park directly alongside the pub, plus a larger overflow car park on the opposite (north) side of the canal. Approximate post code RG17 9UT.

Walk Sections

Start to Shepherd's Bridge
Start to Shepherd's Bridge

Start point: 51.402 lat, -1.4463 long
End point: 51.4021 lat, -1.4285 long

The walk begins in the car park directly alongside the pub buildings of The Dundas Arms. You may be wondering from where this pub takes its name. It was in 1794 that construction of the Kennet and Avon Canal began – the only waterway to link London via the Thames with Bristol in the west. The man behind this great project was Charles Dundas, who lived at nearby Barton Court. When the first section of the canal was completed in 1797, Charles marked the occasion with a ceremony at Kintbury, including a procession down the waterway to Newbury, headed by a military band aboard a barge. One can only imagine that The Dundas Arms was named after this illustrious character.

Leave the car park onto the road and, taking care of traffic, turn right to cross over the canal. Immediately afterwards (and just before you reach the pub’s second car park), turn right through the pedestrian gate to join the canal towpath, signed as a public footpath. Keep ahead along the towpath, with the canal running on your right. The towpath soon leads you over a bridge ahead, with a pretty view of a weir within a branch of the River Kennet on your left. Long stretches of the River Kennet are in private ownership as valuable fishing resources. This means there is limited public access but has the benefit of creating a haven for wildlife. We were lucky enough to see the blue flash of a kingfisher darting between the canal and river.

Continue along the towpath for about one kilometre, to reach the first bridge over the canal, the beautiful brick-arched Shepherd’s Bridge (Number 73). Pass under the bridge and then turn immediately left, up the grass slope and swing left again to cross the canal via this bridge.

Shepherd's Bridge to Country Lane
Shepherd's Bridge to Country Lane

Start point: 51.4021 lat, -1.4285 long
End point: 51.3966 lat, -1.4265 long

After crossing the canal bridge, ignore the stile on the left, instead bear left to follow the farm track leading you steadily uphill (with a hawthorn hedge running on your left). Part way up the slope, it is worth glancing back to enjoy the views that are opening up behind.

At the top of the hill, known as Irish Hill, follow the track as it bends right to lead you between trees. You will come to a fork in the track, with metal gates and a fingerpost on your left. Take the right-hand branch and follow this stone track leading you downhill through the trees. Beyond the trees, continue ahead on the track, passing Irish Hill House on your left and emerging to a junction with a country lane.

Country Lane to Mason's Farm
Country Lane to Mason's Farm

Start point: 51.3966 lat, -1.4265 long
End point: 51.3889 lat, -1.4224 long

Cross over this lane and go straight ahead on the signed public footpath, a farm track which leads you alongside a field gate. Keep straight ahead on the wide grass track, with a hedgerow on your right and a crop field on your left. Continue past a small copse of trees on your left to reach a second crop field and bear right to continue on the field edge (with a hedgerow on your right). Continue only until the hedgerow on your right ends, with Kintbury Holt Farmhouse visible ahead. Here you will see a waymarker post on your right and this marks a (subtle!) crossroads of paths, although it could be easy to miss.

Turn left at this point and follow the footpath through the centre of the crop field. At the far side you will reach a fingerpost alongside the hedgerow. Turn left to cross the concrete slab bridge through the hedgerow and then turn immediately right to follow the field grass margin (with the hedgerow and ditch on your right). Stay with this field margin as it leads you past a pretty woodland copse on your right.

Immediately after the copse, fork right through the fence gap (do not worry that you seem to be entering a private garden, you are still following the public footpath). Follow the path ahead into an orchard, heading for the red buildings ahead. Just before the end of the orchard, turn right over the stile (dogs will need a lift over) to enter a small grass paddock. Walk diagonally left, crossing two more stiles in quick succession (dogs will need a lift over the final one) to emerge onto a lane, with the red buildings of Mason’s Farm on your left.

Mason's Farm to Irish Hill
Mason's Farm to Irish Hill

Start point: 51.3889 lat, -1.4224 long
End point: 51.3993 lat, -1.4248 long

Turn left along the lane, taking care of any traffic. Continue past another couple of properties on your left and then take the first left side road, Old Lane. Follow the lane as it swings right and a few paces later you will reach a fingerpost on your right. At this point you have two choices. The main footpath route crosses a pasture within Barf’s Farm – this can be very muddy and churned and is occasionally used to hold dairy cattle (there are about eight farm pastures that the cattle are rotated between, and this route crosses only one of them). If there are cattle in this pasture, or it is wet underfoot, we recommend you follow the alternative lane route instead.

For the LANE route: Keep ahead along Old Lane, following it to reach a T-junction (with Kintbury signed to the left). Glance diagonally left to see a fingerpost marking a public footpath. Now skip to the final paragraph in this section.

For the FOOTPATH route: Turn right over the stile (dogs will need a lift) to enter the grass pasture. With your back to the stile, walk diagonally left, passing just to the left of the two wooden pylons and heading to the left of the farm buildings at the far side. To the left of the farm buildings, you will reach a T-junction with a farm track (you will need to unhook the insulated handle to open a section of the electric fence to reach this track). Turn left to join the farm track, with fenced cattle pastures each side. At the far end, cross the stile (with dog gap) ahead and turn left along the lane. Follow the lane for about 350 metres, passing the thatched Pear Tree Bottom Cottage on your left, to reach the first side lane on your left, Old Lane. Glance to your right just after this side road junction and you will see a public footpath fingerpost.

Take the signed pubic footpath, crossing over a stile (with dog gate) to enter a crop field. With your back to the stile, walk diagonally left (about 11 o’clock), passing immediately to the left of the nearest large oak tree in the middle of the field. After passing this tree, maintain your direction heading for another large tree in the field corner. Exit the field via the stile (or the gate may be open) alongside this tree. Keep ahead on the track for a few metres to reach a fingerpost and metal gate on your right. This is the junction on Irish Hill that you should recognise from the outward leg.

Irish Hill to End
Irish Hill to End

Start point: 51.3993 lat, -1.4248 long
End point: 51.4022 lat, -1.4465 long

From this point you will be retracing your steps back to The Dundas Arms. To do this, ignore the track to the left, instead keep ahead on the main track through the trees. Stay with this main track as it swings left (with glorious views across the Kennet Valley) and then swings right leading you downhill.

At the bottom of the slope, swing right to cross Shepherd’s Bridge. At the far side turn right to reach the towpath and turn right again, passing under the bridge and continuing with the canal on your left. This towpath leads you all the way back to The Dundas Arms for some well-earned hospitality.

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network The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill Pub Walk Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by iFootpath and the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


2 comments for "The Dundas Arms, Kintbury Canal and Irish Hill"

Enjoyable walk. Good directions. Had to retreat from the path and find our way back onto the road when confronted by a very aggressive dog when attempting to use the public path as it goes through Masons Farm! Dog VERY aggressive! When we went past the front of Masons Farm there are signs up "Beware of Dog" but when approaching from the North there is nothing. It is a public footpath and the farm owners should be aware that public access should not be hindered in this way. Be aware. Dundas pub very good.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Sorry to hear you encountered a problem dog at Masons Farm. We would be very grateful if you could report the incident to West Berkshire Council public rights of way team, so they can take the relevant action.

WYLIE 1 RESPONSE: Have contacted them 👍

ADMIN RESPONSE: Thank you so much, we really appreciate it.

By wylie1 on 14 Sep 2018

Beautiful walk on a mega sunny day, slightly scary moment with the cows so avoid if you can...other than that..just stunning...and the Dundas is one of the loveliest pubs...incredible garden area.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Glad you enjoyed it! Yes dairy cattle can be very inquisitive - hence we suggest walkers use the lane alternative if the cattle are in the one pasture you cross.

By em79 on 07 May 2018

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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