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Route for a Berkshire walk from Kintbury to Walbury Hill and Gallows Down

PUBLISHED: 15:24 06 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:26 06 August 2019

Explore Gallows Down (Photo by Colin Wharton)

Explore Gallows Down (Photo by Colin Wharton)

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Enjoy a splendid hike from the pretty Berkshire village of Kintbury to Walbury Hill and Gallows Down

The village of Kintbury in West Berkshire is close to the Kennet and Avon Canal and River Kennet, and lies between the towns of Newbury and Hungerford. The village forms part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the North Wessex Downs, so this walk offers some stunning scenery. 


Information

- Start/finish: Kintbury Rail Station, RG17 9UN

- Map: OS Explorer 158, Newbury and Hungerford.

- Distance: 12.5miles or 20km

- Terrain: Gently undulating with some hill climbs particularly at Walbury Hill

- Time: 4 to 5 hours

- Refreshments: Eateries and pubs in and close to Kintbury


Route

1 (SU 38590 67185) Start the walk from Kintbury train station and follow the main road south into the village. Turn left at the crossroads and continue past a school before turning right. Carry on going up the road until you get to a footpath sign on the right. Cross into the field and walk uphill with some good views of the surrounding countryside. Cross a stile into another field and then a small wooded section before you reach Forbury Lane.

2 (SU 39097 65218) Cross the lane and through another stile, then head downhill until you get to another wooded section, cross a footbridge and then follow a field before turning right across a field, following the footpath signs. After a short time you will reach a road. Cross this road, then turn right and then left into a field, following the path straight until it veers right through another stile and then diagonally across a field to reach a road. At the road, turn right, and at the end of the road turn left to enter Inkpen Great Common, which also leads to Inkpen Common.

Inkpen Great Common is a rare example of Berkshire heathland where villagers once had the right to graze livestock and collect firewood. Walk south through the common and then westwards until you reach a small road. Follow the road south a short way and you will reach a track path on your left. You can, at this point, take a well-earned break at the local pub the Crown and Garter, which does food and also has a very nice café. To find the pub, continue down the road.

3 (SU 37819 63898) Follow the track and then turn right at the next path junction. Follow this path until you reach Trapshill and a road. Follow the road south and then take the footpath signposted to the right, which takes you through a wood across another road and field, and then along the edge of woods taking you finally to Kirby Farm. At the edge of the farm turn left and follow the footpath south past some woods, across another two fields until you get to a road. Follow this road south and then at a road junction, cross the road and follow the footpath uphill to reach a path.

4 (SU 37847 61633) Turn right and follow the line of this path, the Wayfarer's Walk. The Wayfarer's Walk is a national long-distance footpath from Walbury Hill in Berkshire to Emsworth in Hampshire. The path follows a route that would have been used by cattle drovers.

Follow this path along the ridge. Walbury Hill is the highest hill in Berkshire and the highest natural point in South East England, but at 297 metres, it's only three metres higher than Leith Hill in Surrey. On the hill's summit is the Iron Age hill fort of Walbury Camp. Continue following the path west until you get to Gallows Down and Coombe Gibbet.

Combe Gibbet marks the spot of a gibbet at the top of Gallows Down that was erected in 1676. A cage was used for gibbeting the bodies of George Broomham and Dorothy Newman for murder and was placed at this prominent place as a warning to deter others from criminality. A replica gibbet marks the site with the original having been destroyed.

5 (SU 35779 62065) After Combe Gibbet, follow the Test Way, and then at another gate turn right and follow the path downhill across open grassland with fantastic views until you get to a road at the bottom of the hill.

Follow the road and then turn right at a footpath sign to cross a field. Turn right at the end of the field, following Bell Lane, and then across another field and then a small road until you get to Kirby Farm again. This time, follow the road north and then east to Rolf's Farm and then take the footpath north. At the end of the footpath turn right and follow along the lane until you get to the entrance of Inkpen Common again, close to the Crown & Garter pub. Cross the common diagonally west until you get to another road. Turn right and follow the road north before turning right again, following the road until you get to Fox Hill. At Fox Hill, go north up the path until you get to a road. Cross the road and follow the field to a small road that leads to another track before entering a field with a path diagonally right and northwards that leads towards Kintbury.

Cross the road and turn right and follow the footpath through the town past the church until you get to the road again, which will lead you back to the train station and the end of the walk.

At the end of the walk you could treat yourself to another excellent pub stop at the Dundas Arms, which has an excellent beer garden close to the canal.


More…

- The best Berkshire walks - 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

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