A medium length walk through undulating farmland and the BBC’s Crowsley Park.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) With your back to the pub, turn right and walk along Blounts Court Road, past the Johnson Matthey Research Centre at Blounts Court on the left, then immediately after Blounts Court Farm, turn left and follow the farm access road round to the rear of the farm buildings. Turn right and follow a gravel track alongside a wooden panel fence, continue along this track for about 0.5km until the track turns left at the bottom of a hill.
(1) Leave the track at this point and turn right along a bridle path until your reach the corner of the field. Turning right leave the bridal path and go through two kissing gates into a wood. Follow the footpath through the wood until the path intersects with another path, turn left on to the other path and follow it uphill. At the top of the hill continue along the footpath until you reach a track (Chiltern Way Extension), turn right and follow the track past a large house called the Old Place.
(2) When you reach the public road turn left and walk a short distance, about 60m, along the road. At the finger post, turn right and leave the road and go through a metal kissing gate, then follow the footpath up a slope into Crowsley Park. After about 300m look out for a waymark post where the path splits. Take the right fork and if you look to your right you should be able to see the tops of three large satellite dishes. Continue walking in the same direction and exit the field via a kissing gate in front of a small oak and a clump of large horse chestnut trees. The path continues on along the side of Crowsley Park House and you then exit via two metal gates onto an access drive that runs in front of the house. Turn left and walk down the drive and exit for Crowsley Park grounds via a metal pedestrian gate on to a public road.
(3) Turn left and walk a short distance before turning right into a small lane signposted to Crowsley. Continue on walking through the hamlet of Crowsley until you reach Frieze Cottage, turn left and take the footpath that runs along the side of the cottage. Walk past a brick and timber framed cottage in a large garden then enter a field via a kissing gate, then through another kissing gate and continue along the same path until in emerges on to a minor road.
(4) Turn right and walk up to a junction with a major road (B481); the Bird and Hand pub is on the corner. Cross over the main road and walk through a gap in the hedge opposite onto Sonning Common Millennium Green. Turn right immediately and follow the footpath that runs along the edge of the Green. After about 750m exit the Green onto a pavement that runs along the main road into Sonning Common.
(5) Continue along the main road past Blackmore Lane, at the next crossroads, turn right into Widmore Lane and walk up the hill taking time to stop and take a look at the Widmore Pond and its information board on the right hand side of the road. On the opposite side of the road there are some steps up a bank that lead back to the Butchers Arms pub.(D/A)
D/A : km 0 - alt. 96m - The Butchers Arms
1 : km 0.99 - alt. 70m - Bridle path
2 : km 2.75 - alt. 66m - Public road
3 : km 3.97 - alt. 80m - Sonning Common Road
4 : km 5.4 - alt. 83m - Minor road
5 : km 6.42 - alt. 91m - Peppard Road
D/A : km 7.31 - alt. 96m - The Butchers Arms
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Crowsley Park is owned by the BBC and is the site of a BBC Receiving Station that provided radio signals for the BBC Monitoring Station at Caversham Park before it closed in 2018. Although the BBC Monitoring Services have moved to London, the BBC still requires the receiving station and it has recently received planning permission to install more smaller satellite dishes on site. Crowsley Park House is a Grade II Listed building located within Crowsley Park and is a private residence. An interesting footnote for Sherlock Holmes fans; in the 19th Century a previous owner of Crowsley Park was one Henry Baskerville, whose family had an association with fierce dogs. It appears this was the inspiration for The Hound of Baskervilles. It you look at the main gate as you leave you will notice a stone dog mounted on top of each gate pillar.
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