... and finding the odd lovely dog friendly pub or cake shop en route....
Circular walk taking in some of The North Downs and Wayfarers Walk - (the hill in the photograph below)
and ending with a wonderful dog friendly pub.
Looking towards Wayfarers Walk
The photograph above is looking back to the top of the hill where you've just been.
When I'm lucky enough to be in this area, this is one of my very favourite, walks. It takes in some breathtakingly beautiful scenery from the top of the North Downs and a section of Wayfarers Walk. Relatively short, about 7km, but quite steep in places.
Park on the side of the road near Wergs Farm, RG20 9NH - ordnance survey SU477582. There's a lay by on the side of the road, big enough for 2 or 3 cars, this is where I park. This is the Sydmonton Road and it is a busy road, so please keep your dogs safe and on lead. Stay on this side of the road and take the first left turn towards the farm buildings.
After the farm buildings turn sharp right and then right again along a broad track that passes paddocks and tree lined avenues. You'll soon see the impressive Sydmonton Estate in front of you.
Follow the pathway/lane through the Sydmonton estate, you'll pass a couple of cattle grids with pedestrian gates to the side and then you'll come upon a beautiful coppiced tree lined avenue. At the end you will come to a gate and out onto the Sydmonton Road again, (you've effectively walked a half circle) - again this is a busy road so do take care. Turn left, there's a right hand bend in front of you and after a few yards you'll see a footpath sign on the opposite side of the road, follow the sign and climb the stye and enter a hedge lined track that leads up to the Downs. The track veers left as it rises. Keep on this track as it twists and turns towards the wood.
At the end of the wood, you need to turn square left through a swing gate and follow the track as it turns right passing a tumulus.
The path leads to the summit of Ladle Hill where you will see the fenced off old hill fort.
The views from the top of the Downs are stunning in every direction.
At the end of the fort, the path turns left. Walk a short distance along the marked footpath until you reach a post and cairn.
Turn immediately right and you will join a bridlepath surrounded by stunning beach trees.
This is an enclosed path which will take you back to the Sydmonton road. Cross the road, on the left, you'll see the layby where your car is parked.
My very favourite pub in the area is Bel and the Dragon in Kingsclere. (Swan St, Kingsclere, Newbury RG20 5PP. Tel: 01635 299 342). Dogs are really welcomed in the bar or the small courtyard at the back. If you're lucky enough to be there when Vegetable Bourgignon is on the menu, you're in for a treat.
Finally, some small(ish) print
I try my best to be as accurate as possible in describing my walks, but it would be remiss of me not to say that I've been known to get lost from time to time. So, below is my map taken from a walking app. It shows the start and end point and gives a good impression of the route (although it's not clear that you have to take a sharp left straight after you've parked your car).
I've also included some elevation statistics because it is quite a steep walk, but for the most part, the paths are winding.
I'd always recommend taking an Ordnance Survey map along or some other map and please always take water and wear stout walking clothes.
And please keep your dogs safe and on lead.
Finally, please respect the countryside, keep to footpaths, take your litter home with you, close all gates and be aware that there may be livestock in the fields so it is very important to keep dogs on lead and under control at all times.