Old Mansion Walk 3.75 miles
Hamstead Marshall

	back to 
	walks homepage
Your comments and questions are welcome. Please send an email.
Copyright Penelope Stokes
24 September 2009
Elm Farm to Hamstead Mill: 1.25 miles

Take the bridleway opposite Elm Farm across the field which for centuries has been called Summer Leys. To the left is Woodcote Copse, bordered by a dip caused by clay extraction for local brickmaking.

The bridleway rises up to meet Park Lane, which you cross, continuing on another footpath up some grassland and onto the Plain. This was once grassland, used for village cricket and even golf in the early twentieth-century, but more often ploughed and cultivated now.

As you cross the Plain note the ditch and bank on the right — the original medieval park "pale", and now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Ahead you can see the gate-piers of the first Lord Craven's mansion, built in the 1660s and burned to the ground in 1718. The gate-piers and what remains of the old mansion walling also have protected status.

The path reaches the south side of St Mary's churchyard, at which point footpaths run left into the Craven Hill development, and also to the right. Take the latter, skirting the garden of North Lodge, and descend through a once-grand avenue to meet the tarmac driveway at the Hamstead Mill entrance to Hamstead Park.










Hamstead Mill to the US forces memorial: 1.25 miles

Turn right onto the drive and walk towards the big house formerly called Hamstead Lodge (a modern house on the far side of the village has now taken over the name). The Craven Fishery lies on the left, shrouded by greenery in summer but plainly visible in winter. The path skirts a lake frequented by ducks and Canada geese. The hill to the left is probably the remaining earthwork of a Norman castle. After passing some rhododendron bushes at the top, and the Dower House on the left, the driveway bears right into the grounds of the big house, but the footpath continues over the grass, eventually joining the surfaced driveway leading out from the back of the house.

Continue along this avenue until the main driveway bears left and another (unused) stretch runs on towards some old white gates. This is also a footpath crossroads, and apart from the signs the point is marked on the left by a white limestone memorial dedicated to the US troops who were encamped here in the months before D-Day.

The US forces memorial back to Elm Farm via Ash Tree Corner: 1.25 miles

Take the footpath which forks to the right over pasture, passing through a gate. Aim for the stile at the far side. Thence the path descends, skirting a copse to the right. This stretch is pretty in bluebell time. After several field crossings, the last brings you to the corner of Ash Tree Plantation, beside which the path runs to the left as a more obvious track. After a few hundred yards it joins the Kintbury Road just east of Ash Tree Corner, from which it is a half-mile walk (to the right) back to Elm Farm.