- County: Hampshire/Berkshire
- Area: Ashford Hill, Wasing Place and Brimpton
- Distance: 7 Miles
- Time: 4hours
- Refreshments: Yes – pubs in villages
A 7 mile walk in the relatively unknown and quiet countryside of the Hampshire/Berkshire border is perfect for a sunny day.
Normally my day walks are much longer than this, but 7 miles is a lovely distance to get out and stretch the legs when you don’t have a full day available. It took me about 4 hours but that included a nice leisurely picnic stop on a bench outside Wasing Place Church and also lots of stops to take photos.
As it was a last minute decision to go for a walk, I followed the route on Fancy Free Walks called Brimpton and Hampshire Border Forests.
The postcode doesn’t quite take you to the carpark in Ashford Hill, but a quick look at Google maps before I left enabled me to find it easily. It was pretty much empty which reassured me this would be a nice quiet walk. There is a fantastic play area by the carpark – a mixture of low ropes and climbing frames. I’m not going to lie, I had to have a go on the low ropes course! I told myself it was my warm up for the walk and hence definitely needed.
It is a great walk – easy terrain, clear footpath posts, and a lovely mix of woodland, meadows and quaint villages. Although I did this walk after a long dry spell there was still one slightly muddy section – if doing after a wet period, I would recommend walking boots! However, the paths were not overgrown and you could easily wear shorts.
Ashford Hill Nature Reserve is maintained by Natural England in the traditional manner of grazing and hay cutting. It’s a lovely mix of habitats – made up of meadows, grassland and woodland. I saw lots of interesting insects while walking through this part and could hear the wonderful call of a cuckoo the whole time.
Just before you leave Hampshire to enter Berkshire, part of the walk goes through an area where the surrounding woodland either side of the path undulates and forms interesting shapes – supposedly pits from some old workings. Brimpton Common (not to be confused with Brimpton!) reflects the charming countryside and is a lovely quaint village with nice stone houses, and a thatched pub called La Capanna.
You then continue to Wasing Place, a magnificent, quiet estate with some footpaths running through its grounds. It is owned by the Mount Family – descendants of Richard Mount, who was one of the partners of the 18th century religious and maritime publishers, Mount and Page. The name was well-known worldwide as a printer of nautical charts.
The little church on the estate, dating back from the 1400s, is full of character – and it’s not often you get a bench for a lunch stop! There was a cheeky robin that kept teasing me as I tried to take a photo of it – I went slow and low, and decided to do a commando crawl to see if that enabled me to get closer! It did, but the robin decided to land just feet away from me, but behind a flower….and I ripped my shorts in the process! Think that’s Robin 1, Lizzy 0!
The route then heads to the aforementioned Brimpton. Leaving the historical village, which dates back to the Bronze Age, you cross some fields until you reach a meadow with the River Enborne meandering through it. It is here you cross the river, and re-enter Hampshire to make your way back to Ashford Hill.
This was a truly lovely walk with lots of wildlife – deer, squirrels and birds amongst other things. I would advise doing this walk around June/July time when the wild flowers will be out. However, if you are looking for a nice quiet half-day walk away from people at any time throughout the year, then this is a must.