...within 30 minutes' drive of Hamstead Marshall
1. Enborne battlefield SU 435 657
Circular walk of about 4 miles over farmland – site of the First Battle of Newbury 1643. 5-min drive to park by Enborne Church (also worth a visit).
2. The Chase, north Hants SU 44 62
130 acres National Trust woodland, threaded by chalk stream. Several paths: see map to find which are buggy-able. The outer circuit walk is about 1.5 to 2 miles. Nature reserve and grazing cattle, so dogs must be on leads. Less frequented by dog-owners since this became obligatory. 5-min drive to free car park off Station Road, Woolton Hill.
3. Bowdown Woods SU 50 65
130 acres to north of Greenham Common, owned by BBOWT. 10-min drive to 3 circular wildlife walks, each with own car park off Bury's Bank Road:
Bowdown woods: 1 mile, ancient woodland, bluebells, clear path, some gradients, can be muddy.
Bombsite: .75 miles, surfaced path ok for buggies, flat, lightly wooded.
Baynes: 1 mile, more rugged.
Walks are linked by permissive paths so can be combined, eg, Bowdown + Bombsite = c50 mins walking. Dogs must be on leads because the whole area is a nature reserve. Plenty of waymarkers, but they don't tell you which route you are on, so best to photo the map board in the car park as you set out.
4. Newtown Common SU 477 633
Map board at car park. 140 acres of woodland owned by Hampshire County Council, together with the Herbert Plantation – a nature reserve, so dogs on leads. 1.5 to 2.5-mile walks, depending on which of three circuits you take. Path surface variable, but can be muddy. 10-min drive to car park at Jonathon Hill (turn left off A339 just past the Swan).
5. Greenham Common SU 49 65
Map and details of 4 circular walks, 1 - 4 miles. Map also on board at car park. 700 acres (including Crookham Common), former USAF airfield, now owned by West Berkshire Council and managed by BBOWT. 10-min drive to small car park on Bury's Bank Road (where Pyle Hill joins it). Well frequented.
6. Great Penwood, north Hants SU 44 62
Several paths offering a variety of circuits through Forestry Commission woodland. 10-min drive to Andover Road, turning left off it just after crossing the River Enborne, and follow lane into Penwood for about half mile. Car park on right.
7. Inkpen SU 35 65
Several walks, 3.6 to 11.3 miles long, over farmland and along a chalk ridge trackway. (Probably best used in conjunction with Explorer 158.) 10-min drive.
8. Sydmonton Common, north Hants SU 495 630
Mixture of rights-of-way and permissive paths on small, privately owned woodland common. Some paths surfaced, others good, some very rutted and potentially muddy. Plan your own route of 1 to 2 miles. 10-min drive to Bishop's Green. Roadside parking.
9. Snelsmore - Bagnor - Donnington Castle SU 463 709
Website has route map. Circular walk about 4 miles over varied terrain: heathland, woodland, downland, taking in village, River Lambourn, golf course and ruined castle. Pub in Bagnor. Varied surfaces, but not much of it muddy. Popular, though some stretches spoilt by bypass noise. 15-min drive to car park at Snelsmore Country Park, see below.
10. Snelsmore Common Country Park SU 463 709
About 250 acres owned by West Berks Council, run by BBOWT. Maintained heathland, sometimes with grazing animals. Basic circuit is on a flat surfaced path (buggy-able, and good for children on small bikes) of barely 1 mile. Diversions can extend it to 2 miles or more, but side paths are not surfaced and some may be muddy. Toilets, picnic and barbecue facilities. 15-min drive to car park at entrance opposite Mary Hare School.
11. Ashmansworth, Hants SU 416 575
Circular 5.5 mile walk over farmland and downland, taking in Faccombe village. Usually quiet.15-min drive to on-street parking in Ashmansworth village.
12. Watership Down and Ladle Hill SU 477 582
Website has sketchy map – better use Explorer 144. 4.5-mile circular walk from bottom of hill, steeply rising about 150m, taking in Watership Down and iron-age fort. 15-min drive to park roadside near Werg's Farm.
13. Cannon Heath Down SU 51 56
Join a section of the Wayfarer's Walk (70 miles in full) along top of Hampshire Downs: open chalk grassland, racehorse gallops, good views, can be windy. Enjoy the height without a climb. Non-circular walk – turn around when you want to, and return same way, (if you go as far as Watership Down it's about 2.5 miles including return). Well frequented but unspoilt. 20-min drive: take B3051 past Park House Stables out of Kingsclere to car park near top of ridge.
14. Fence Wood, Hermitage SU 51 72
About 400 acres woodland owned by the Palmer family trust, with many paths, all open to public. 6.5 mile walk but can be varied to choice, but it’s easy to get lost. No path markers or map. 20-min drive to Grimsbury Castle (earthwork) car park.
15. Savernake Forest, Wilts SU 215 646
Walks of 3 miles and upwards through 4,500 acres of ancient woodland managed by the Forestry Commission. Or see large scale OS map showing tracks, with which you can plan your own walk. Wikipedia has a detailed description of the forest. 30-min drive to forest entrance just short of Marlborough on A4. Or go on to first roundabout in Marlborough, turn left, and come soon to Postern Hill (SU 197 679) for parking, toilets, picnic and barbecue sites. About 30-min drive from Hamstead.
16. Uffington White Horse and Wayland's Smithy SU 293 865
30-min drive to pay-and-display car park at the White Horse for a 4.25-mile circular walk across windy downland with good views, taking in the White Horse, Uffington Castle and the Long Barrow at Wayland’s Smithy, together with a section of the Ridgeway, one of Britain’s oldest roads.
17. Great Bedwyn,U 279 645
Website has route map of 5.5-mile circular walk through village, farmland, woodland and canal towpath, taking in Wiltshire's only working windmill and the beam engines at Crofton. 30-min drive to park at Great Bedwyn station.
18. Frilsham Pot Kiln SU 55 72
4.5-mile route over farmland and woodland, down to River Pang, can start and end at the Pot Kiln pub in Frilsham. Walkers who intend to eat before or after are usually allowed to park. Very popular pub – get there at opening time. The walk can be extended to make a longer figure-of-eight, taking in Stanford Dingley (which also has a pub). 30-min drive to either Stanford Dingley or Frilsham.