Berkshire cycle route - Woolhampton to Bucklebury Common

PUBLISHED: 00:00 15 July 2020

Woolhampton Swing Bridge Photo: By Chris Wood, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2772803

Woolhampton Swing Bridge Photo: By Chris Wood, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2772803

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Colin Wharton heads to Woolhampton for a lovely cycle ride exploring Bucklebury Common.

Bucklebury Common Photo: Sebastian Ballard, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13473241Bucklebury Common Photo: Sebastian Ballard, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13473241

This is a lovely cycle ride exploring a route from Woolhampton to Bucklebury Common across a variety of landscapes and, although short, there are a number of gradients.

Woolhampton, a village in West Berkshire, is known for its many coaching inns due to its location on the Bath Road.

On this cycle ride you’ll get to explore Bucklebury Common, which is managed by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust and is one of the largest commons in Southern England with a network of public footpaths and byways. The common is also a site of Special Scientific Interest.

Douai Abbey Photo: By Pam Brophy, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1398753Douai Abbey Photo: By Pam Brophy, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1398753

1. (S(SU 57329 66650) From Woolhampton Station (renamed Midgham Station), follow Station Road north into the village and turn left at the Bath Road (A4). Turn right almost immediately close to the old Falmouth Arms (now residential) and follow Woolhampton Hill north. Continue on this hilly road past Elstree School and St Peter’s Church and another primary school. When you come to a fork in the road, turn left into Upper Woolhampton, with the Douai Benedictine Abbey on your

right (monks originally came here from France in 1903). Continue along the road as it winds northwards.

2. (SU 57096 68543) Turn right at the next junction and follow the signs to Bucklebury and Bradfield, following Hatch Lane and passing residential housing. On reaching the main road and the edge of Bucklebury village, with the Bladebone Inn on your left, turn right and follow the road eastwards with part of Bucklebury Common on your right along Chapel Row.

The Bladebone Inn dates back to the 17th century and was named after the Bladebone of a mammoth, which was sealed and hung over the door.

3. (SU 58169 69980) Stop when you reach Back Lane and take the public byway north into the woods off the main road and follow the byway until you reach a small lane. Turn right and follow the byway north again close to the right of a small cottage. Leave the byway at the corner of Cock Lane and follow the lane northwards past some rural residential houses.

4. (SU 57424 71943) After passing the Bull Inn and then St Denys Church, turn left at Bucklebury Road and follow it westwards, passing hedgerows and fields and some nice views. At the next junction, follow the signs to Frilsham and Yattendon to the right, continuing along the road past farms and fields. Turn right at the bottom of the road signed Marlston and Hermitage, and turn left at Tyler’s Lane as it ascends. You’ll be surrounded by woods as you enter Bucklebury Common again.

5. (SU 53071 69208) Turn left at Broad Lane and follow the main road south-west towards Upper Bucklebury. At the next junction continue left, still on Broad Lane, past the modern All Saints’ Church and a residential area, passing the Cottage Inn.

Turn left off the road close to the deer warning sign and follow the byway track westwards as it skirts opposite the main road through the common. The byway crosses a number of lanes but continue until you reach Chapel Row and turn right onto the road. Follow it to the fork in the road, following the right-hand signs to Upper Bucklebury and Thatcham.

6. (SU 55716 68633) Follow the road until you see a byway sign on your left. Follow the byway as it crosses Bucklebury Common, eventually leading to Pease Hill where you need to follow the track southwards as it leads down Carbinswood Lane. Turn right at Windmill Lane, following it southwards. It will open up and offers excellent panoramic views.

Turn left at School Hill and then right again at New Road Hill, following it south until you reach the Bath Road (A4). Turn left and then finally turn right down Station Road, which will take you back to the start of the cycle ride and the railway station.

If you’re looking to stop for refreshments, the picturesque Rowbarge, which dates back to the 18th century, is a very short ride south of the station and rests next to the Kennet and Avon Canal and the Swing Bridge.

COMPASS POINTS

Start/finish: Midgham Station, Station Road, Woolhampton, Berkshire, RG7 5SE

Map: OS Explorer map 159: Reading, Wokingham and Pangbourne

Distance: 15miles or 24km

Terrain: A short cycle ride traversing a mixture of small roads and lanes to off-road byways across undulating countryside

Time: 1 to 2 hours

Refreshments: Eateries and pubs close to Woolhampton

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