This is a short walk from East Hagbourne, best tackled outside the winter months. Despite the name this is not a walk across heather strewn moorland. At certain times of the year, bog might be more appropriate!
Start your walk from East Hagbourne village hall. Leave the car park and turn right along Main Road, towards the old railway bank. After 100m or so take the left hand turning down the stony road past several converted barns.
When you reach the end of the road, turn right and follow the path towards West Hagbourne.
You’ll cross a small stream and, where the path bends right, you can detour into a small wooded area. I used to love coming in here as a child, and with my children, but on my most recent visit it was sad to see signs of partying and a fire blackened tree.
Head back to the main path and walk towards the railway bank. You’ll pass Shovel spring on your left with a handily placed bench.
When you reach the railway bank bridge take the footpath on your left hand side. However, don’t walk all the way up onto the railway bank. Instead continue straight on and back down the slope.
In July these slopes are home to bee orchids; there are usually 10-20 of them in this area. They’re one of my favourite flowers and it’s lovely to see them growing here (please don’t pick!).
At the bottom of the track turn left and follow the path. This track runs from Moor Lane in West Hagbourne out onto Blewbury Road. In theory it is a byway open to all traffic, but it gets very muddy after rain.
Rather incredulously, a few years back, I remember watching a break down truck attempt to recover a small car which had driven part way along the track and got bogged down in the mud. I can only assume it was a sat nav decision.
Continue on along the track ignoring footpaths off to either side until you reach the one shown in the photo below. There is a footpath directly opposite leading to Blewbury but you should turn left through the gate to return to East Hagbourne.
If you are lucky the field will be empty. However from time to time it’s used by cattle. I’m not a fan of cows but I’ve never had a problem crossing through it. Even if I do sometimes sprint. (This is part of a running route I use, I don’t normally sprint on walks!).
Once safely past the cows there’s one further field to cross back into East Hagbourne, which this year was shoulder high with maize. In early summer I love to watch the returning swallows and house martins swooping over this field.
At the end turn left for a few steps and then follow the raised walkway through Tadley stream. I have always called this Tadley, but I believe its official name is Hacca’s brook. Either way I love this part of the walk. In the last couple of years I’ve seen a little egret, a kingfisher and even a muntjac deer along here. Along with lots of paddling dogs and children!
At the end of the stream cross the road to the opposite path and turn left. Follow Main Road all the way through the village, unless you require a refuelling stop at the Fleur de Lys.
During summer months the church often runs afternoon teas on Sundays, as advertised on a noticeboard by the cross. Alternatively continue round the bend and past Hagbourne Primary School until you’re back at the village hall.
Start and end point: East Hagbourne Village Hall
Distance: Approximately 3.3 km, 2 miles
Terrain: about half the route is on tarmac, suitable for all. However Moor Lane can be very muddy and slippy after rain.
Refreshments: pub in East Hagbourne