Dinton Pastures - Hurst - River Loddon - Dinton Pastures

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This walk is flat, not too long and is suitable for those of all ages and fitness levels. There are a number of stiles and some possible muddy parts, together with pavement stretches next to main roads.

The walk starts opposite Dinton Pastures Country Park, which was created from a gravel extraction site. The park is free to enter by foot and there are plenty of things to do there. For further information, please see the website: http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/leisure/parks/country-parks/copy-of-dinton-pastures/

After passing some pleasant countryside, the walker enters Hurst near the parish church and almshouses. The village name is actually St Nicholas Hurst but in years gone by the area was called Whistley. St Nicholas' Church was originally built in the Norman period but has been rebuilt mostly in the 17th Century and Victorian periods. The churchyard contains tombs to the Simmonds family, who owned a brewery in Reading.

Opposite the church are the almshouses which were built in 1664 by William Barker. Hurst was part of Wiltshire in those days! Worth visiting nearby is The Castle Inn, once known as the Bunch of Grapes. The pub once had a coffin room where bodies were laid out for burial and was the sole supplier of bread in the village – hence the bread ovens in the lounge bar. Outside, the pub has the oldest bowling-green in the county and was reputedly played upon by Charles I!

The walk proceeds through Hurst past two lakes before heading out of the village past The Green Man pub and onto Hogmoor Lane, a green lane. Rather than continuing down the often muddy lane, the route heads over a footbridge and along a footpath not on your OS map to reach the main road.

The route back to the start largely follows the course of the River Loddon. Take the opportunity to look for unusual wildlife. Upon approaching Sandford Lane, the walk turns left to pass through the Lavells Lake Local Nature Reserve. (http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/leisure/parks/country-parks/copy-of-lavells-lake-lnr/).

For further in-depth reading about Hurst, please see the following web site address:

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=43213

England - South England - Berkshire - Thames Valley

Features

Birds, Church, Food Shop, Good for Kids, Mostly Flat, Nature Trail, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, River, Wildlife, Woodland
23/09/2017 - Andrew Long

Thanks for your comments Ken - Sailing club name updated.

19/06/2017 - Ken Howard

Did this lovely walk on 18/6/2017 in scorching 32 degrees. At start, the Black Swan Sailing Club is now called 'Dinton Activities Centre'.

25/10/2015 - Andrew Long

Thanks for your comments Harley. I walked the route on 25 October and have made the following changes: 1) Brought car parking charges up to date 2) Updated WM03 to mention that sign has disappeared and included new version of photo 3) Amended reference to old vicarage 4) Removed reference to stile at far end of WM08 as its no longer there! and 5) Updated WM14 and photograph to remove reference to post which is no longer there. I haven't amended WM03 with respect to the turnips as the wording does mention tracking fence on right plus you didn't get lost. Farmers grow crops and often this obliterates the path line especially in the case of cereals!

20/10/2015 - Harley Quilliam

A pleasant little walk, with the return half, along the bank of the River Loddon being especially interesting. The car parks in Sandford Lane now cost £4 for 4 hours, so we (being naturally economical) parked on the roadside further down Sandford Lane. The footpath sign at WP3 is no longer there, and neither is the footpath in the field. It has been overplanted with swedes. Fortunately the furrows went in our direction, so we proceeded with caution to avoid being tripped by the large (slippery) swedes growing in amongst thistles. We went to the far corner of the field and followed the field headland around to the left to reach the stile, rather than attempting to cross diagonally. Unfortunately, St Nicholas' church was not open. (Incidentally, the Vicarage is nowed called Hurst Court.)

13/02/2011 - Andrew Long

13 Feb 2011 - Walk reviewed and updated by Author. Please note the Castle Restaurant and Pub was closed on the day the walk was reviewed. It is not known if this is a temporary or permanent arrangement.

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