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Beech Hill and River Loddon

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Beech Hill and River Loddon
Author: Stuart, Published: 23 Nov 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Beech Hill and River Loddon Walking Guide star1 Beech Hill and River Loddon Walking Guide star0 Beech Hill and River Loddon Walking Guide star0 Beech Hill and River Loddon Walking Guide star0 Beech Hill and River Loddon Walking Guide
Berkshire, Beech Hill
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Beech Hill and River Loddon
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot Beech Hill and River Loddon Walking Guide
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This 5.5 mile circular walk mostly follows footpaths and byway tracks around Beech Hill in Berkshire, with a few short sections along quiet roads. It crosses the River Loddon in two places. There are no stiles, kissing gates, steps or livestock on route, just some gaps alongside vehicle gates to negotiate. There are several steady gradients, but nothing too steep. Allow about 2 to 2.5 hours.

Start in the centre of Beech Hill. Buses only serve Beech Hill two days a week, so a car will generally be needed. Park alongside the church, in Wood Lane (opposite the church) or Beech Hill Road alongside the village green - but not on the pavement, please. Approximate post code RG7 2BB.

Walk Sections

Start to Trowes Lane
Start to Trowes Lane

Start point: 51.3736 lat, -0.9988 long
End point: 51.3637 lat, -0.9999 long

From the start point by the church, continue down Wood Lane past houses and passing Chapel Lane (that leads down to a very old Methodist Chapel). At the end of the houses and a short section of wood on your right, turn right onto a byway opposite Beech Hill House, an old house built by the Hunter family and used by the Red Cross during the Second World War.

The byway is not supposed to be used by traffic and there are posts to prevent this, but motorbikes occasionally drive along, making some ruts in the otherwise well maintained path. The top end of the path may be a little boggy during the winter or after periods of rain, but it clears further down.

You will eventually have views of Beech Hill village houses to your right and the dirt track eventually passes a bungalow and becomes a paved road, although rarely used by traffic. The road joins Trowes Lane at a junction.

Trowes Lane to Bypass Crossing
Trowes Lane to Bypass Crossing

Start point: 51.3637 lat, -0.9999 long
End point: 51.3693 lat, -0.9743 long

Turn left at the junction with Trowes Lane. Take care of traffic along this stretch. Although it is a country lane, you do occasionally come across speeding vehicles. (The following section of road-walking along the the next road, leading across the Loddon, gives clearer views of oncoming traffic).

At the road junction turn left along Chequer Lane. After a short while you will pass one of the gatehouses for Stratfield Saye House, the home of the Duke of Wellington. Just beyond this, a small bridge will take you over the River Loddon for the first time. On your left you will see what was Stanford End flour mill, production discontinued in 1961. The Loddon, which rises near Basingstoke, runs for 28 miles and is a tributary of the River Thames.

After crossing the river bridge, turn left along Barge Lane, passing next to the mill, and bear right at the first junction (near the animal feed farm) going up the hill. At the top of the hill (opposite a house) turn left along a lane. This is another lane that is not meant for vehicles, but the occasional vehicle does come along, especially during the pheasant shooting season. The path is mostly dry, but some large puddles can develop in the winter.

As the path leaves a wood you cross a footbridge over the A33, Swallowfield Bypass. This is the highest point of the route and there are good views towards Reading.

Bypass Crossing to Bypass Underpass
Bypass Crossing to Bypass Underpass

Start point: 51.3693 lat, -0.9743 long
End point: 51.3778 lat, -0.9817 long

Having crossed the footbridge continue left along the track, ignoring the branch to your right. You will soon pass some houses and the track will turn into a paved road with very little traffic.

At the first junction turn left onto another stretch of Barge Lane, then take the first right along an unmarked road that leads down to your second crossing of the Loddon. There is a very striking ironwork bridge at this point, made in Reading.

After crossing the bridge continue up a small slope and turn left at the junction, a continuation of Lamb's Lane. As the road meets the bypass ahead and swings right, you need to turn left along a track.

Bypass Underpass to End
Bypass Underpass to End

Start point: 51.3778 lat, -0.9817 long
End point: 51.3738 lat, -0.9987 long

Go down the track alongside the bypass then pass under the bridge and turn right again on the other side. (During the winter the area underneath the bypass bridge can occasionally flood. If this happens it is sometimes possible to walk on the pavement side, on the right, and keep dry feet. If it is too deep it is possible to retrace your steps, continue along the footpath to the top of the hill and turn left, returning to Beech Hill along the road.)

The track continues alongside the A33 - a bit noisy at times, but the noise quickly dies down as you bear left and continue alongside woodland and fields.

After passing by a gate across the track, you will arrive at the point where you entered the track opposite Beech Hill House. Turn right and continue along Wood Lane to the finish.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by iFootpath and the author stuartbarry and may not be reproduced without permission.


2 comments for "Beech Hill and River Loddon"

We did this walk today as had cabin fever after the snow. It was a lovely area to walk in BUT for us there was far too much walking on roads/lanes I would say about 85/90% is tarmac.

By pob75 on 04 Mar 2018

Really nice walk taking you along byways, paths and lanes I never knew existed even though I live in the area. For me: perhaps a bit too much tarmac and really did not like the bit alongside the A33 but it wouldn't stop me doing this walk again. Just take care when you come through the A33 underpass there is a new swing gate that has been put in on a footpath to your left which catches your attention but it is not the right way - you need to continue alongside the A33 a bit longer before bearing off left.

By AJM0212 on 28 Jan 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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