This is a walking route I’ve re-discovered recently, primarily due to the coronavirus lockdown and trying to find different places for my daily exercise.
The walk takes you on a circular route out from East Hagbourne, often following streams. If you’re walking with children be aware there is one short road stretch. It’s fine during coronavirus lockdown but can be busy in normal times.
Please follow the walk instructions in conjunction with the map below.
From East Hagbourne Village Hall car park turn left and follow Main Road back through the village. You’ll pass Tudor House, Upper Cross and the Fleur de Lys pub.
When you reach an orchard on your left cross the road to the entrance to Tadley stream. Follow the raised path to the end. There’s a recently repainted bench at the end, perfect for a short break.
Take the footpath from the back of Tadley, across the open field towards Blewbury. Watch out for swallows and house martins along here in late spring and summer. Pass through two gates which enclose a (sometimes used by cattle) field. This takes you to Moor Lane, a byway which links West Hagbourne with Blewbury Road in East Hagbourne.
Turn left, towards Blewbury Road. Look for the stile (above picture) on your right a few hundred metres before you reach the road. Cross it and follow the path past a pond and into a wooded area.
The footpath meets Blewbury Road, beside Mill Brook. You can see from OS maps that the nearby area was the location of two historic water mills, East Hagbourne Mill and Blewbury Mill. Sadly they are both off limits and no longer operational. However, East Hagbourne Mill does have a claim to fame as the place blotting paper was accidentally invented. If you are old enough to remember blotting paper….
Turn right and walk along the road towards Blewbury. This part of the walk can be busy with traffic so keep to the edge and walk towards oncoming traffic. Fortunately it’s not a particularly long stretch. You need to keep an eye out for a footpath on your left hand side (as shown above). If you reach a sharp right hand bend in the road you’ve gone too far!
Cross the stile and follow the footpath along field edges. The stream is on your left hand side but, aside from a couple of spots, it’s quite hard to see it. However if it’s a calm sunny day you will see lots of butterflies along here. Follow this path until it meets another track and turns steep left. Cross Mill Brook again; this spot appears to be a dog paddling magnet (although the stream is quite deep here). Follow the narrow path; this is a bridleway so watch out for cyclists as it’s a popular route to reach South Moreton. Ignore the footpath which branches off to your right and continue straight ahead following the small stream back to Hagbourne village.
When you reach Blewbury Road in Hagbourne cross over, turn left for a couple of metres and then walk along Fieldside. Follow the footpath all along the field edge, ignoring the turn off for Tadley stream. After about 10 minutes it bends right and brings you out beside St Andrew’s Church. Walk through the churchyard and turn right along the stony road beside the barns. Follow this up to the main road, turn right back to the Village Hall car park.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this walk! If you live in Didcot or local villages do like In Didcot on Facebook to keep up to date with future posts. You might also like to join the ‘Wild in Didcot’ Facebook group, a place to share local wildlife sightings and wildlife gardening tips.
Click on the image to take you to a larger version.
Start and end point: East Hagbourne Village Hall
Distance: Approximately 5.5 km, 3.4 miles
Terrain: Concrete paths and countryside footpaths. Moor Lane can be very muddy after rain, and the stream around Blewbury Mill area sometimes floods. Short stretch of road which can be busy (walk single file facing oncoming traffic).
Refreshments: pub in East Hagbourne (when open).