East Hagbourne, Didcot’s closest neighbour, is a quintessentially English village. With its pub, community shop and a main road full of historic houses it’s an attractive place to live. Perhaps one day when I win the lottery…
Until then I’ll content myself with walks and runs around the village. The recent good weather has allowed me to photograph the village in all its spring glory so I’ve published a selection below.
Given the times we’re living through, I’ve purposely chosen not to specify a walking route to ensure individual paths aren’t overused. There are a lot of footpaths and short cuts to explore but I’ve generally stayed clear of them recently as it’s much easier to socially distance on a wide road. And on that note, I’ll start.
Around East Hagbourne
Butts Piece is an area of open ground, next to the allotments, a couple of minutes walk from Green Close in Didcot. It’s a haven for wild rabbits, which scatter into the adjoining wooded area as you approach. It’s one of my main walking routes into the village, with the alternative being via Mowbray Field and the railway embankment bridge.
If approaching Hagbourne by road the most picturesque part of the village starts when you leave New Road to join Main Road. The spring flowers around the war memorial and Lower Cross are gorgeous at the moment. A lady was tending to them this week, thank you for keeping the area so lovely!
There are more than 40 listed buildings and structures in East Hagbourne. Most can be found along Main Road. Many of these were built in the mid 17th century, possibly as a result of rebuilding that occurred after a major village fire in 1659.
This is Lawson’s Orchard on Main Road, although I call it the chicken field. Sadly it hasn’t had any chickens in for a year or two now although last year it was briefly home to ET (as part of the village scarecrow trail).
The Gables, the house next to the field, has a very small window up on the first floor. This was supposedly used to spy on Parliamentarian troops when the army billeted 6000 horsemen here in the English civil war. I’ve no idea if it’s true but I love the story!
This stream is officially called Hacca’s Brook (after a chief from a West Saxon tribe) but I’ve always known it as Tadley. Strictly speaking Tadley was a medieval settlement, near to the Blewbury Road end of the village.
It’s a lovely walk along the raised path, although in these social distancing times it’s not easy to keep six foot apart without getting wet feet. I’ve seen a variety of wildlife along here, including a muntjac deer, little egret and a kingfisher. But you’re more likely to see dogs paddling in the stream!
There are plenty of spring flowers bordering the footpaths around the back of Tadley. If you’re looking for a longer walk from here you can head over to Blewbury or out along the Hagbourne Moors.
The Fleur de Lys is a thriving village pub. When I was a lass East Hagbourne still had several pubs, including the Travellers Welcome and the Spread Eagle. It’s down to just this one now which fortunately always seems to be busy. As well as providing food and real ale the folk at the Fleur also organise music events and beer festivals.
The side garden of Tudor House is marked out with allotment plots for the villagers. In summer hollyhocks and roses provide an explosion of colour, their blooms lining the local paths. The house itself is for sale at the moment. Worth a look if you’ve got a spare £1.3 million.
There’s a footpath along Shoe Lane, one of a network of alleys. Another of East Hagbourne’s closed pubs, The Happy Dick, was evidently located in this lane, but that was before my time.
This view of Upper Cross, with the church in the background is my favourite in the village. The cross is one of three; there’s also Lower Cross and the remains of one in Coscote. It’s thought they may have marked an area of refuge in the village. It’s not often I get to take a photograph of the cross without cars in it!
There has been a church on the site of St Andrew’s Church since the tenth century. However most of what you see today was built in the twelfth to fifteenth centuries. It holds a popular Christmas tree festival every December; a visit to this is one of our yearly traditions.
At the back of the church there’s a footpath out to West Hagbourne. This is also the start of the annual Hagbourne Fun Run route which usually takes place on May Bank Holiday Monday (except this year).
That’s all for my round up of spring photos of East Hagbourne. I hope you’ve enjoyed them!