This walk is a lovely short route from Didcot taking in two neighbouring villages, East and West Hagbourne.
1. From the start point (see info below), walk along the railway bank until you reach the concrete path which slopes down on the left hand side, near the farm at West Hagbourne. Follow the path downwards and double back on yourself – do not continue straight on.
If you’re walking this route in the summer do check out my flower ID sheet. There are loads of flowers to spot along the railway bank!
2. At the bottom of the path, turn left and pass under the railway bridge. Walk beside a hedge, along a broad track until you reach the outskirts of West Hagbourne.
3. Stay on the path as it winds through the village. You’ll initially pass houses on your left and paddocks on your right. The road from Didcot joins from the right, but you continue straight on along Main Street. When you reach the bend near the bus stop and war memorial turn left and follow the road along to the duck pond.
Be aware the left hand path runs out about halfway along so you’ll need to cross onto the opposite side until you reach the duck pond.
Nowadays, most people see the road through West Hagbourne as a convenient route to Harwell Campus or the A34. It’s hard to believe that the village once had two pubs, a malt house and several houses which served as shops. Do take a moment to look at some of the older properties you pass; several are listed and date from the 17th century.
4. At the sharp bend in the road carefully cross the road and walk to the side of the duck pond, towards Manor Farm.
Follow the lane between the farm buildings (now converted to other businesses). In spring you’ll be greeted with daffodils around the stream and a bench where you can sit awhile to enjoy your surroundings.
4. Continue on along the lane heading back towards the railway bank. Pass paddocks on your right hand side. Go under the railway bridge and continue straight on along Moor Lane, do not turn left up on to the railway bank.
Depending on the recent weather, the section along Moor Lane can be very muddy. Even more so if motorbikes have been along it! In theory it is a byway open to all traffic, but you really wouldn’t want to drive along it.
5. Take the first left turn off of Moor Lane. This is a footpath that runs between two fields, parallel to the railway bank. At the end of the footpath turn right and follow the path, heading towards St Andrew’s Church in East Hagbourne. This is the main footpath that links the two villages.
Walk through the churchyard and continue up to the cross.
7. Turn right at the cross, along Main Road for a short distance. By the bench, at the end of the allotment garden, turn left along Shoe Lane.
At the Y junction turn right, then turn left along The Croft until you meet Wilcher Close.
8. Walk all the way along Wilcher Close until you reach a sign indicating the start of Butts Piece. Follow the footpath between the allotments and the stream.
When the allotment fencing ends, turn left and cross the open land of Butts Piece. When you reach the far side, turn right and follow the path up to your start point, the beginning of the railway bank track.
Click on the map to view a larger version.
Start and end point: Railway bank Sustrans route, near Green Close, Didcot. OS reference: SU525888 What3words: velocity.youths.straws
Distance: Approximately 4.5 km (2.8 miles).
Terrain: Railway embankment, paths along field boundaries and gravel tracks. The path along Moor Lane is often very muddy!
Refreshments: None on actual route but short diversion to pubs in West and East Hagbourne .