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Goring Gap from Lardon Chase, Berkshire
View of the Goring Gap from Lardon Chase | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole
Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire & Berkshire

West Berkshire countryside walk

Enjoy a 7-mile circular walk around rural West Berkshire, near Streatley. Spanning Lardon Chase, the Holies and Lough Down, this trail will enable you to explore a variety of landscapes, spot rare butterflies, and take in views towards the Chiltern Hills, the North Wessex Downs and the Goring Gap.

Total steps: 9

Total steps: 9

Start point

National Trust car park at Lardon Chase. Grid ref: SU583806.

Step 1

Leave the car park by taking the gravel track in the opposite corner to the main entrance and next to the National Trust sign. Go through the wooden gate, then continue ahead, keeping the hedge on your left. You'll soon see views over Streatley, Goring and the Thames. Around 600m (660yds) beyond the car park, the hedge takes a 90-degree turn to the left.

Step 2

Bear left for a short while, then go through the gate to enter Lough Down. Bear about 30 degrees to the right and head north, following the broad track across open grassland. As the path slopes downhill, look for an opening to the right of a distinctive white house on the road below. There are panoramic views to the north, and you should be able to make out the twin wooded hills, known as the Wittenham Clumps. Go through the gate and down the track beside the white house to reach Rectory Road.

Step 3

Turn left along the road. You'll eventually pass Goring and Streatley Golf Club on your left, Thurle Grange on your right, and a riding stables further on to the left. Around 120m (130yds) beyond the stables, you'll come to a signposted track next to a house called Wynders.

Step 4

Turn left and follow the track gently uphill. When it enters a field, bear left onto the signed footpath. Continue on the path through open fields at the base of a broad, dry valley. After passing the distinctive and isolated Kiddington Cottage on your right, join the track that heads steeply uphill into Westridge Copse. Walk past the farm buildings and you'll eventually reach the B4009 road at Westridge Green.

Step 5

Turn left along the road, then, after 80m (88yds), where it bends to the left, turn right onto a farm track that heads downhill. When the track bends left towards Gould's Cottage, continue ahead and uphill on the signed footpath. This path soon bends left to run along the flank of a dry valley. Continue ahead, crossing over a farm track, and you'll enter College Wood. The bluebells beside the path are beautiful in late spring. When you emerge from the wood, bear right to join a farm track, then follow the signed footpath straight ahead (not the bridleway to the right) until you arrive at a road next to Pyghtle Cottage.

Step 6

Turn left along the road. After 400m (440yds), you'll come to a minor road junction. Follow the road left, then veer right beside Southridge House. After 300m (330yds), bear left to join a road coming from your right. Just beyond Manor Farm, the road passes under electricity pylons, then heads steeply downhill to Stichens Green. Here, the road bends sharply right, then heads uphill to a crossroads.

Step 7

Go straight over the crossroads, then follow the drive uphill that's signed as a public bridleway (not the drive to the left of this, which goes to Holies Shaw House). This drive runs parallel to Grim's Ditch, in the woodland to your left. At the top, when the drive bends sharply left, keep walking straight ahead, crossing Grim's Ditch. The footpath now heads downhill, and you'll soon see the open grassland of the Holies on your left. After passing stables on your right, you'll see the main A329 road ahead.

Grim's Ditch at Stichens Green, Berkshire
Grim's Ditch at Stichens Green | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

Step 8

Before reaching the road, turn sharply left and partially back on yourself, then go through a wooden kissing gate beside the National Trust sign to enter the Holies. Keep left to join the track that runs along the edge of the grassland, with woodland on the left. When the track bends right, away from the edge of the woodland, follow it. After passing a wooden signpost, bear left and uphill towards a gate. Go through this, then continue uphill across Holies Down until the track goes through another gate into woodland.

Cowslips at the Holies
Cowslips at the Holies | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

Step 9

Continue along the track through Common Wood. The path levels out, with woodland on the right and more open acid grassland on the left. You'll re-enter some woodland, before dipping down to cross the head of a dry valley to your right, called The Coombe. On reaching the road, cross over and turn right to return to the car park where you started the walk.

End point

National Trust car park at Lardon Chase. Grid ref: SU583806

Trail map

Map of the West Berkshire countryside trail
Map of the West Berkshire countryside trail | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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