Lower Earley – Dinton Pastures – Lavell's Lake Local Nature Reserve - Lower Earley

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Lower Earley – Loddon Bridge – Woodley – Dinton Pastures Country Park – Lavell's Lake Local Nature Reserve

This is a modern walk insomuch that had you visited the area forty years ago, it would have looked very different – much more rural. Despite the urbanisation, the planners have seen fit to provide pleasant river walks and the 335 acres of Dinton Pastures Country Park with its seven lakes, two rivers and meadows (it was once used for gravel extraction). The country park is a popular venue for local residents, with a variety of activities including fishing, cycling, sailing and walking.

Starting from the Lower Earley housing development, the walk takes in the landscaped flood-plain next to the River Loddon, which is maturing nicely. Passing by the new(ish) cinema multiplex, we are quickly back onto country paths before entering the country park. It then detours into Lavell's Lake Local Nature Reserve. The walk does a big loop before visiting the café (tea shop) in the country park, where you can partake of an afternoon tea or an ice cream.

The route then returns to the starting point along a similar route to that followed on the way out, with a few variations. The route is flat, the paths are reasonably well-defined and stays away from vehicular traffic other than for crossing roads.

Much of the walk is on 'hoggin paths' - made from a mixture of compacted sand, gravel and clay - a much more attractive surface than tarmac.

Important: in Waymark 18, the walk passes through a short but dark, corrugated tunnel to reach the hotel. If you feel unhappy about walking through the tunnel, an alternative route back to the start is described in Waymark 17.

England - South England - Berkshire - Thames Valley

Features

Birds, Good for Kids, Mostly Flat, Nature Trail, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, River, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife
12/11/2019 - Andrew Long

Route walked by Contributor in October 2019 and instructions brought up to date.

06/10/2019 - Andrew Long

In response to Gavin’s comments, I have walked the route today and made some minor changes especially to do with the section re the tunnel towards end of walk.

21/08/2019 - Gavin Bradshaw

I did this walk back in 2009 and now again in 2019 and it does seem to have changed quite a bit as trees have grown and more paths have been made of stones or tarmac. It is also much busier than I remember. On the plus side, you aren't likely to encounter any mud, no matter what time of year you go. A few notes. Waymark 2. After crossing at the traffic-lights, follow the path straight ahead. There are no longer any metal barriers to go around. Waymark 3. The disused car showroom is now a busy Harley Davidson motorbike dealership. Waymark 6. After you walk under the power lines, there isn't much chance to see any house ahead of you right away as the bushes and trees have grown up a lot. But the path is very clear, so just keep following it as it passes through the trees, then you'll see the houses ahead. Waymark 14. I saw no sign of a glass office block, but the tree growth might well have hidden it. It is also possible I wasn't looking in the right place or had taken a wrong path. Waymark 17. I didn't see any corrugated tunnels along here, though it could be because I just missed them. Tunnels were visible much earlier in the walk. There does seem to have been some new housing development near the start/end of this walk, so the foot paths might have been moved around a little in recent years. I never knew what a hogging path was, I just assumed it was a path that 'hogged' the perimeter of a field or building, which isn't the case. This might explain why I've taken a few wrong turns in the past. Having now looked it up, I believe it should be spelt Hoggin without a 'g' (at least that's what Wikipedia says)

02/01/2011 - Andrew Long

Walk reviewed and updated by Author on 2 January 2011

29/01/2009 - Walkingworld Administrator

Thank you, Julie. Andrew has now corrected the instructions.

11/01/2009 - Julie White

Interesting walk with lots to look at but quite busy. Couple of points: waymark 8 you go through a box gate before reaching bridge, waymark 9 White Swan Lake is on your right not left. Worth noting as well that unless you want to use cafe or toilets turn right round end of field with play equipment at waymark 13 rather than go in and out of car park.

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6.2 Miles