Berkshire walk through Chaddleworth and Brightwalton
PUBLISHED: 16:37 12 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:37 12 March 2018
Follow Steve Davison as he wanders through the rolling Berkshire Downs visiting the neighbouring picturesque villages of Chaddleworth and Brightwalton
Our walk this month, a longish six-mile jouney with the option of a shorter two and a quarter mile choice, meanders through the Berkshire Downs to the north of Newbury, an area of rolling chalk hills that form part of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Chaddleworth, like its near neighbour, Brightwalton – which we visit later in the walk – dates back to the time of the Domesday Book, and probably much earlier than that.
The manor at Chaddleworth was given to Robert d’Oyley by William the Conqueror and later belonged to the mother of Edward I. In the 16th century Henry VIII exchanged Chaddleworth for land in London, including St James’ Park, while Westminster got the parish of Chaddleworth; the Dean and Chapter of Westminster are still Chaddleworth’s patrons.
After taking in a view of Chaddleworth House, which dates back to the early 1800’s, we visit St Andrew’s Church which dates from the 12th-century with later additions. The church has a fine Norman zig-zag carved doorway and two 17th-century side chapels belonging to two local families; the Blandy’s and the Wroughton’s.
The walk then heads for Brightwalton once home to a moated monastic grange and chapel. A more recent addition was the 19th century Gothic revival styled All Saints Church, designed by the well-known ecclesiastical architect G E Street, which replaced a much earlier building. After leaving the village we wander through a patchwork landscape of rolling fields down into the valley before heading back to Chaddleworth.
• Start/finish: village hall along Upper End in Chaddleworth (SU414777) short way off A338 to the north of Great Shefford; limited parking
• Map: OS Explorer 170
• Distance: 6 miles (9.5km) or 2.25 miles (3.5km)
• Terrain: some gates and stiles, ups and downs, paths and tracks that can be muddy, and sections of road
• Time: 3 hours or 1 hour
• Refreshments: The Ibex (01488 638311) at Chaddleworth
1 (SU414777) – From the village hall cross over the lane, through a gate and shortly go left through another gate. Head west (thatched cottage on left) to a gate on the far side of the field; Chaddleworth House is over to the right. Turn right along the lane to the junction with Botmoor Lane. Turn right along the track (brick wall on the left) and continue through the churchyard, keeping left of the church, then alongside a hedge. Turn left, go through a gate into the field and head diagonally right down to the lower right corner. Stay in the field and turn sharp right up beside the fence. Go ahead into the next field and follow the boundary on the right to a four-way path junction. Turn left down to a lane.
2 (SU418781) – Here you have a choice: for the short walk turn right for 400m to rejoin the walk (see later); for the longer walk turn left along the lane. At the bend go straight on into the field keeping Spray Wood on the left. Ignore a path to the right and at the next path junction, beside the corner of the wood, go straight on down across the field to join a road at a junction. Take the second left (straight on towards Wantage) to a junction beside the War Memorial (left) and turn right for 250m, soon passing the church. Just before a thatched cottage on the right (number 46) turn right along the track (footpath sign). Keep ahead past the stile and follow the fence. Cross a stile and continue through the field to a lane opposite the entrance to Malthouse Farm.
3 (SU427787) – Take the path just to the right of the entrance wall, go up the bank and through a gate. Keep ahead through the garden and leave through a gate. Continue to a path junction mid-field and turn left. Go over a stile in the hedge and follow the right-hand fence. Cross another stile at the field corner and continue along the enclosed path and then along the drive past a cottage to the lane. Turn right for 75m, and once level with the Old Bakehouse turn left along a footpath with Pudding Lane House on the right. Keep ahead into the field and continue gently downhill to a road. Turn right for 200m and then right at the junction, heading uphill for 150m to a footpath sign. Turn left across the field towards the hedge, cross the stile and continue, with a hedge on the right. Go through a gate at the corner to join a track.
4 (SU437775) – Turn right and just after the house, turn right through a gate. Follow the enclosed path, pass a gate and then cross a stile at the end. Turn left along the field edge, near the corner dogleg left over a stile and continue, now following the field edge on the right, up to a lane. Keep ahead to the bend and continue along the drive for Oak Ash Farm. Where this curves left, keep ahead over a footbridge and stile to enter a field where the path splits. Fork right across the field, leave over a stile and follow the track to a lane (shorter walk rejoins from the right). Turn left, passing two junctions to reach the Ibex pub. Here, turn right along an enclosed path, then bear right along the lane for 120m. Fork right up some steps and continue through the field back to the village hall.
• The ultimate Berkshire walking guide - With the North Wessex Downs, Windsor’s Long Walk and a whole host of beautiful towns and villages, Berkshire is an amazing place for a stroll