A wonderful walk for all the family, through areas of outstanding beauty, history and extraordinary wildlife
The Walker's Guide: Donnington, Snelsmore and Bagnor - For PDF Map, Click HERE
Walk south from the historic Donnington Castle, which was the hub of the two vicious Battles of
Newbury during the Civil War, past Donnington Grove, now a hotel on a golf course, to the River Lambourn. As you cross and walk along the river, look out for trout, herons, coots and ducks, yellow flag iris, reed mace, willowherb and many other wetland species.
Heading towards the riverside village of Bagnor, home to the famous Watermill Theatre, you’ll cross the picturesque Rack Marsh – a Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) Reserve – where you’ll be spoilt for choice for flowers from marsh marigold and meadow sweet to red clover and ragged robin. If you bring a magnifying glass you might just spot the rare 2mm Desmoulin’s snail, one of the nation’s most endangered species.
At the northernmost point of the walk lies Snelsmore Common, a lowland heath and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The bogs and mires here are caused by the presence of a layer of impermeable London Clay. As well as purple bell heather and moor grass, the gorse provides nest sites for small birds. Roe deer, adders and newts are fellow residents. The route winds it way back towards the castle, past Castle Farm.
Walk Start/End: Donnington Castle
Grid Ref: SU 461691
Distance: 6 miles/9 km
Terrain/Suitability: Suitable for most walkers, several stiles, slight gradients on parts of walk