Gently undulating circular walk across fields and through woodlands, passing by Leather Bottle PH in Mattingley
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D)The road, just outside of West Green house, bends sharply. On the apex of this bend is a small stile leading into a tree lined avenue, offering a magnificent view to West Green House.
(1) Walk past the large wrought iron gates of this impressive Georgian house and cross a second stile into a field, dotted by oak trees. The footpath can be difficult to follow but cuts straight across the field (heading slightly to the left). There is a woodland in the field; keep this two hundred metres to to your right. Having crossed the field look out for the tall, but narrow, wrought iron gate, which leads to the road.
(2)Walk a few metres to the right and then take the lane past Damale's cottage and continue onto the footpath. After a few hundred metres you come across a small shack and a skip... the contents of which look like a Jason Pollack sculpture.
Walk a few metres more then turn left. Walk across the top of this field for one hundred metres, until you reach a second field. A yellow way-marker on a lone post points the direction of the footpath, which goes diagonally down the hill of this second field. If the field is sown to crops or the path unclear, follow the hedgerow to the bottom of the slope, then turn left and walk for a minute. The footpath leads to a gap in the hedgerow (that runs along the bottom of the field), which reveals a small 'plank bridge' that crosses a boggy ditch. Enter the next field and walk straight ahead, passing under pylons.
(3)Follow the sound of the (fancifully named) Whitewater River and cross a classic 'Pooh sticks' bridge. Can you resist? Climb over the stile and continue straight ahead (following the direction of the bridge) and walk the short distance across the field. Turn right at the metal gate to follow the hedgerow for half a mile.
Passing further gates and a water trough in the field, look for a footpath on your left, which runs along the edge of a small woodland. The path is accessed through a narrow metal gate. Here we find 'The Avenue' of lime trees that present an arched walkway to Barlett's Farm.
(4)When reaching the farm, walk left for a few metres and though the big metal gate to follow the lane to the B3349 Reading road. Turn right and arrive at the Leather Bottle. Founded in 1712, the Leather Bottle describes itself as "an extraordinarily eclectic and characterful property with a jumble of nooks and crannies, prints, rugs and an open fire". A fair description and certainly a nice place to stop for a pint, or to sample the menu.
Suitably refreshed, continue along the road for several hundred metres. Turn down the road to the right, marked for Dipley, and almost immediately take the track on the left to follow the footpath past some cottages. Enter the wood and continue along the path. Cross another small lane and follow the path with an ivy covered 'Dickensian wall' on your right.
(5)A short while later, the path emerges from the wood and goes past a very pretty cottage. Enter the churchyard and turn sharp left heading for the gate into Church Farm. Be sure to take time and admire the 14th century church, apparently converted from a tithe barn. Unusually the church has no patron saint and is known simply as Mattingley Church.
Turn right down the (typically) muddy farm lane and follow this for a hundred metres or more. At the end, turn left (slipping past the gate) to follow the grassy path running between two hedgerows. After several hundred metres, cross the bridge over a small stream and enter a large field. The track continues straight ahead, veering slightly to the right to pass under the pylons. Bear right at the edge of the field, where the path runs parallel with another small stream, to your left.
(6)Climb through two stiles to emerge into the pretty gardens of Dipley Mill. The path continues toward the sound of a weir, but crosses the stream just before, to pass an incongruously located WWII Pill Box. Being sure to fight off any uninvited Germans, continue with the walled garden to your left and the tennis court to your right and walk straight across the next field. Turn right at the hedgerow, continuing on for a few minutes to reach the Dipley road.
Turn left onto the road, past a mock Georgian mansion. Look out for the first footpath on your right, which is less than half a mile.
(7)Climb the stile to enter a very large field. The path is to the right of the field and follows the contour of the wood for more than half a mile. Passing finally through 10 metres of woodland the path emerges onto a road. Bear right and follow the road for half a mile, reaching Damale's cottage (for the second time). Turn left through the tall, narrow, wrought iron gate and retrace your steps to West Green House.
D/A : km 0 - alt. km 0 - Thackham's Lane stile
1 : km 0.13 - alt. km 0.13 - West Green House
2 : km 0.47 - alt. km 0.47 - Take lane past Damale's Cottage
3 : km 1.27 - alt. km 1.27 - Bridge over Whitewater River
4 : km 2.12 - alt. km 2.12 - Turn right and arrive at the Leather Bottle
5 : km 2.96 - alt. km 2.96 - Mattingley Church
6 : km 3.73 - alt. km 3.73 - Dipley Mill
7 : km 4.22 - alt. km 4.22 - Climb stile into field
D/A : km 5.71 - alt. km 5.71 - Thackham's Lane stile
Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
West Green House is open to the public to visit
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