This walk visits two local villages, both with good pubs, interesting histories and thriving communities.
Indeed, this walk’s interest lies primarily in the downland villages at either end, East Hendred and Ardington, and to a lesser extent, West Hendred.
Leaving East Hendred
It’s possible to start from anywhere in East Hendred, but for the sake of route finding I’ll assume a starting point from Hendred Stores on the High Street. Walk north along High Street (towards the A417), until you reach Champs Chapel Museum in Chapel Square.
Champs Chapel was built in 1453 by Carthusian monks but is now the village museum. It’s open Sunday afternoons from April-October, pre-booking is required at present due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Take the left fork up Chapel Square and then left again at the junction with Orchard Lane. At the end of the road bear left a few steps and cross into Mill Lane. Follow this past the playground and then look for a footpath off to your left hand side.
Follow the footpath which takes you out of East Hendred, across streams and fields towards West Hendred. When you reach the edge of West Hendred you have a couple of options, either to stay on the footpath which brings you out on The Greenway or to take the left hand option down to Mill Lane. I’d suggest the latter as you’ll get to see the barn below, with its old fruit picking ladders. They’ve been there for as long as I can remember!
Assuming you’ve chosen the latter option, walk along Mill Lane to meet The Greenway. Turn right and then, just after the houses in Bankside, take the footpath to your left across the fields to Ardington.
This is a lovely rural stretch around the edge of fields and through a small block of woodland. There’s one very short part which is overgrown with nettles and brambles (depending on the time of year you visit). Route finding is straightforward, simply follow the footpath!
When you reach Ardington turn right onto High Street and follow it through the village. Pass the village shop and Loyd Lindsay rooms. Take the left turning down Well Street.
At this point it’s worth reflecting on the life of Lord Wantage, also known as Robert Loyd-Lindsay. Born in 1832 he lived in Lockinge House and was a soldier, politician and philanthropist (he was the first chairman of the precursor to the British Red Cross). Locally, he paid for the statue of King Alfred in Wantage town centre. He’s buried in Holy Trinity churchyard of Ardington, it’s worth a detour as you’re walking past.
Continue along Well Street and cross Ardington Brook. Shortly afterwards turn left on a footpath, following the course of the stream. You’ll get a good view of Ardington House, a Georgian manor house which is a popular wedding venue.
The footpath takes you, eventually, all the way back to West Hendred and through the churchyard of the 14th century Holy Trinity Church. It was closed when we visited but if it’s open you might want to step inside and view its medieval floor tiles.
When you reach Ginge Road turn left (although the footpath directly opposite also takes you back to East Hendred it’s not the route this walk goes).
When the road bends slightly to the left watch out for a footpath sign on your right (by a white house). Follow the footpath beside the houses, over to East Hendred. When you reach a crossroads continue straight on; you will come out beside the school in East Hendred.
The final part of the walk depends where you want to finish in East Hendred. To reach the village shop follow the road directly opposite the footpath. This will take you past the church, turn left at the junction to return to the shop.
Alternatively you could continue past the shop and visit one of the village pubs. Either way, do let me know if you’ve enjoyed this East Hendred to Ardington walk.
East Hendred to Ardington walk information
Click on the map to view a larger version. I would always recommend taking your own OS map (or online equivalent).
Start and end point: East Hendred village shop. OS grid reference: SU460887 What3words: ///positions.helpfully.supposes.
Distance: Approximately 6.9 km, 4.2 miles
Terrain: Flat footpaths across fields, farm tracks and quiet village roads.
Refreshments: village shops and pubs in both Ardington and East Hendred.