Tue, 31 May 2016
A wonderful walk for all the family, through areas of outstanding beauty, history and extraordinary wildlife.
A wonderful walk for all the family, through areas of outstanding beauty, history and extraordinary wildlife. We encourage all who do this walk to take photos, comment and rate the route, tell us what you think! Walks can be rated by visiting www.newburytoday.co.uk/walkers guide. Where you can also comment and post photos, alternatively share your photos
and comments via our twitter page and facebook. For full PDF map click HERE
Directions for 30 Days Wild Walk
1.From Thatcham Station walk south over the Kennet & Avon Canal. Turn left into Chamberhouse Mill Lane.
The earliest mention of a mill here dates from c.1390. The millers were always tenants – the last were the Smith family, who ran the mill for 83 years, up to the end of its working life in 1965.
2. Bear left at Crookham Willows. At the paddock fence of Crookham Manor turn right following footpath skirting the manor grounds. The historic farmstead of Crookham Manor was previously known as ‘Banks’ Farm’ and was once home to ancestors of Thatcham’s well-known Brown family. Note the clock tower at the northern end.
3. At a white brick outbuilding turn right. Go along fi eld-edge track into the woodlands.
Here you are on London Clay, the damp ground and occasional springs are where the clay joins the overlying sands. Look out for the lords-and-ladies (or cuckoo pint). In early spring it has bright, glossy leaves with purple blotches. In autumn, it forms bright
scarlet, toxic berries. Starch from the roots was used for stiffening ruffs in Elizabethan times.
4. After the path bends left, follow sign right uphill to an old concrete road.
Through the gates you can see a World War II bomb store. It was not completed until the end of the war and was never used for its intended purpose. Now it makes an ideal warm, open place for butterfl ies such as the fast-fl ying small copper which feeds
on sorrel. Follow concrete road past Limberlost Farm on right, then mobile homes on left.
5. Just before the Crookham Common Road, turn right onto the wooded path.
Note: this is a permissive path and may at times be quite overgrown and muddy.
6. After crossing three private access tracks, turn right onto a track towards Highfield Farm.
From this point on top of the gravel plateau you get a stunning view right across the Kennet Valley to the woods of Bucklebury Common. The hedges and meadow to the right of the track combine to make a perfect place for small birds and butterflies such
as the descriptive orange-tip butterfly.
7. Continue past Highfi eld Farm and houses where the footpath narrows, and down the steep track with hedgerows.
Hedgerows like these are very important for a wide range of wildlife such as insects, birds, shrews and bats. They provide food and shelter and corridors to travel from one area to another.
8. As the track levels out you reach Waterside Farm
Wildlife-friendly farms like this one provide great opportunities for wildlife. On this farm, lapwings have nested and successfully reared young in the fi elds – listen out for the ‘peewit’ call. Look across to the barns for swallows and swifts fl ying around
overhead. Go through the gate (avoiding the farm buildings) and follow the footpath back to Chamberhouse Mill Lane. Turn left onto the lane and back to Thatcham Station.