The Woodspeen Castle Walk
Via Donnington Castle
1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes
From The Woodspeen, turn left and walk along the footpath for 150m. Turn left down the road signposted The Watermill and Bagnor. After a quarter of a mile you’ll pass the Blackbird pub. About 75m after the pub, turn right at the far side of The Lynchets House, where the field leads up to a wooded area. Go through the stile and when you get to the top of the hill go through another stile, turning left. Continue for a quarter of a mile up a short, steep hill and go down other side; be careful here – it can be a little bit muddy.
Take the footpath to your right before you get to a gravel track, go through the stile. Continue along the path for about a mile, going up hill and eventually through another stile. Look to your right and you should see a golf club. Turn right at the T-junction and keeping the golf course on your right, continue along a gravel track that, after a short while, becomes a tarmac road. Take the bridge over the dual carriageway and continue towards a large house, ignoring the signpost for the 18th tee. Turn right at the house, go past a run-down barn on your right and continue along a gravel track for 400m to Donnington Castle. Enter the gate into the Donnington Castle – this is a lovely spot to stop and have a breather.
At the bottom of the hill on the opposite side of the castle grounds you’ll find a gate. Leave through the gate, turn right and follow a grass verge for 50m. You’ll come to some wooden posts and a sign saying ‘Footpath only/no horses’. Turn left and follow the footpath as it slopes down towards Donnington Country Club. You will then come to a tarmac road. Keep left, following a grass footpath and the road until you come to a picturesque bridge. Walk over the bridge, turn right at the speed bump and follow the footpath to a wooden bridge over the river. Take care: the river floods from time to time. With the golf course on your left, take the path through the marshes. Keep the black railing fence on your right until you reach the entrance to a cluster of houses called The Fishery and then turn left, following a tarmac road until you reach Lambourn Road.
Turn right, follow the main road and you’ll find The Woodspeen 200m on the right.
The Woodspeen River Walk
Via the River Lambourn
1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes
On leaving The Woodspeen turn right, cross the road and go over a stile sign-posted ‘footpath’. Keeping to the left, walk along the edge of the field and after about 100m go over the stile and head towards a wooded area. After 10m, go through another stile, turn right and walk along the edge of the field – you’ll notice that the field dips down before rising up again. At the top of the rise, cross diagonally (or go around the edge if you prefer) and walk towards the corner of the field. At a 3-bar wooden fence, go over the stile, walk along the edge of the field and around the corner, before climbing another stile into the next field. Walk to the corner of this field and go over the next stile. Take the gravel track towards Woodspeen House, following the track until you reach a road. Here, take a sharp right into Snake Lane and follow the road for 50m.
Turn left at the ‘byway’ sign and follow an uneven track until you reach a T-junction. Turn right and, keeping to your right, follow another uneven road/track until you come to a fork, where the track turns into a farm’s driveway. Take the track towards the wooded area and after a mile or so you’ll reach a road, passing some houses on your right. Cross the road and follow the footpath straight in front of you, which will take you over a river and across a weir. Keep following the footpath until you come to a concrete bridge. Go over the bridge and turn right at the T-junction, following an uphill track through a wooded area. At the top of the rise, continue forward while keeping to the right, following a path with high hedges on either side until you reach a cluster of houses. You are now in the village of Bagnor. Follow the concrete road until you’re in the village, walk past the Watermill car park, follow the road round to the left (ignoring the first left turn), and turn left. Go past The Blackbird pub on your left and follow the road until you reach the junction with Lambourn Road.
Turn right, walk 50m down the road and you’ll find The Woodspeen on your right.
The Woodspeen Moors Walk
Via Speen Moors
Approximately 1 hour (with an optional 30 minute detour)
Outside The Woodspeen cross the road and turn left, and walk along the pavement towards Newbury. When you’ve walked under the bridge (with the A34 above you) turn right and follow the footpath, ignoring the first left turn. When you come to a fork, follow a diagonal uphill path for 400m, walking between houses, you will come to the Bath Road. Cross the road, walk into Speen Lane and after 50m turn right down a footpath (Tankard Lane). Follow the path towards the church, St Mary the Virgin. Take a moment to visit The Ladywell at Speen (one of Britain’s forgotten holy wells) around 25m down the path.
Continue along the footpath, passing through the church grounds. Follow the ‘footpath’ sign into the church car park, taking the path diagonally and then straight. This footpath leads to Speen Moors. At this point, you can turn left and follow the Speen Moors Walk, which takes an additional 30 minutes. If you’d rather stick to our shorter route, turn right, follow the footpath, go through the metal gates and turn right at the fork (which is where you eventually come out if you take the longer Speen Moors walk). Continue along the path for 150m until you reach a footpath on your right. Turn into a wooded area and continue along the path, turning right at a folk – this path brings you back to the church. Pass through the church grounds, back along Tankard Lane and Speen Lane, and cross Bath Road again.
Then, simply follow the footpath back to Lambourn Road and The Woodspeen.