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Copyright Penelope Stokes 2012
18 short walks within easy reach of
Hamstead Marshall
page 2 of 2
Website has route map. Circular walk about 3 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
No helpful website or map, although an excellent printed map used to exist many years ago.
About 250 acres owned by West Berks Council. 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
Website has route map. 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.

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. Walk length can be varied according to choice, but 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
Guided 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 mins drive from Hamstead.

30-min drive to pay-and-display car park at the White Horse for a 3.3-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 SU 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. Stanford Dingley SU 57 71 to the Frilsham Pot Kiln (SU 55 72)
Website is a badly-scanned leaflet with a poor map; use it to plot the route more clearly on Explorer 158. This 5-mile figure-of-eight route over farmland, beside River Pang and woodland, brings you to the Pot Kiln pub in Frilsham, slightly more than halfway round. Very popular pub – get there at opening time. Return after a good lunch, downhill all the way.
Or start from Pot Kiln, which allows walker-patrons to park.
There is an alternative, much shorter walk (about 40-mins) closer to the Pot Kiln – check it out on Explorer 158.
30-min drive to park roadside in Stanford Dingley (which also has a pub).