Holtwood Walk 3.5 miles
Hamstead Marshall

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White Hart to Briffs Copse: nearly .5 mile

From the White Hart take the driveway up past the Dogs' Trust kennels atPlumbs Farm. Pass the kennels on the left, after which there is a footpath crossroads. Take the route straight ahead, which leads you over a stile and uphill across a field towards woodland. Here you are at one of the highest points of the village (400ft), and you have a good overall view of the houses distributed along the Kintbury Road. The distinctive triangle of Morewood's roof can be seen further north.


Briffs Copse to Smiths Bridge: nearly 1 mile

Cross the stile into Briffs Copse and follow the path which eventually takes you out across a field towards another copse (you are now in West Woodhay parish). Instead of joining the track it is about to meet, the path makes a 90-degree turn to the left past Waterman's Farm and then dog-legs past more woodland on the left to meet Watery Lane at Smiths Bridge, which marks the border with Hampshire.
Watery Lane to the White Hart: 2 miles

Turn left into Watery Lane and pass the newly settled farms of Foxlee and Enborne Valley on the right.

The lane rises and then drops to Holtwood Farm (thought to be one of the oldest houses in the village) on the left, with its redeveloped barns to the right. Another slight rise meets Holtwood Lane. Turn left into Holtwood Lane, and (ignoring another left turning almost immediately) continue fro a few hundred yards until the footpath sign points off to the left.

Take this route, crossing the corner of one field, and turning right to cross the width of another. At this point there is a stile whose approach is sometimes overgrown with brambles. Having negotiated this you are back on Elm Farm land, crossing three fields and eventually entering Mayhouse Gully. Winding through the damp woodland here, the path emerges into another field, at the far fence of which the footpath forks. Take the right hand option leading onto a short trackway which runs onto the Kintbury road. The White Hart is about 100 yards to the left.
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Copyright Penelope Stokes
24 September 2009