When it comes to appreciating the great outdoors, whether it's on horseback, two wheels or on foot, the expansive Newbury countryside provides the freedom to explore stimulating scenery at your own pace.
Whatever the choice of activity, the journey will take you past vast open vistas, across chalk downs and green meadows, and along ancient paths, canals and rivers. Culture vultures can seek out ancient hill forts, Roman villas, medieval castles and grand houses concealed in the alluring countryside. Below are some suggested routes to help you get the most out of your experience.
Berkshire, RG20 8TE
1-3 Start at Northcroft Leisure Centre, Newbury as per longer route.
Donnington, West Berkshire, RG14 2LE
The striking twin-towered 14th-century gatehouse of this castle, later the focus of a Civil War siege and battle, survives amid impressive earthworks.
Greenham and Crookham Commons, Burys Bank Road, Thatcham, Berkshire, RG19 8BZ
Greenham and Crookham Commons are designated as a sight of special scientific interest and are home to many rare and endangered plants and animals.
Newbury Mountain Club is West Berkshire’s friendliest club for walking and mountaineering.
The North Wessex Downs is a tranquil yet stunning landscape of rolling chalk downlands, forests, woods and dales. Beech woodland crowns the tops of many of the downs providing wonderful panoramic views for miles around. Thinly populated, the downs project a feeling of remoteness and timelessness. In the vast skies above, skylarks, lapwings and majestic birds of prey can be seen.
Rectory Road, Padworth, Berkshire, RG7 3QE
Padworth Common is a rural Local Nature Reserve (LNR) ideal for those looking for a peaceful, relaxing visit. Covering 28 hectares, the site is served by a network of paths that run through a variety of habitats including heathland, woodland, ponds and wet alder lined gullies.
Aldermaston, RG7 4PQ
Privately owned by Young Estates & Land Ltd and managed in agreement with West Berkshire Council, Paices Wood Country Parkland is a wildlife haven and recreational retreat.
This 35 hectare (86.5 acre) former gravel extraction site consists of extensive woodland, grassland and several lakes located in a narrow valley just outside Aldermaston.
Town & Manor of Hungerford, Town Hall, High Street, Hungerford, RG17 0NJ
220 acres of grass pasture, grazed by cattle and accessible for sympathetic recreational use by the public on the edge of Hungerford.
Lambourn, Hungerford, West Berkshire, RG17 8UH
A range of barrow types are represented, named for their shapes – bell, bowl, disc and saucer – and they are well preserved as Scheduled Monuments within a small nature reserve which is open to the public.
Wantage Road, Newbury, RG14 3BQ
Snelsmore Common is a heathland site with a series of valley mires, surrounded by woodland. It is an important area for ground nesting birds such as nightjar and woodlark and the area is a site of special scientific interest.
Nature Discovery Centre, Muddy Lane, Lower Way, Thatcham, RG14 2AF
This walk follows the Northern and Southern Taxiways of the old airbase which would have been used by the huge B47 bomber planes.
This National Trail is described by the Countryside Agency as Britain's oldest road. One quarter of its length is footpath, but there are nearby routes that riders can use in these places.
These Scheduled Monuments make up a barrow cemetery, probably dating back to the Bronze Age although the ring feature may be earlier. This latter barrow was partially excavated in the 1960s, revealing prehistoric worked flint tools and evidence of burning, but no burials.