Sunday walks around Newbury & the perfect pub lunch

Beautiful house near Chapel Lane, Frilsham, Newbury

On a beautiful Spring Sunday morning we got together with a couple of family members for a relaxing walk in the woods, far away from the mayhem that was the Reading Half Marathon.

Living fairly local, this walk is one we have explored before and knowing that it also features a Pub called the Pot Kiln, serving fantastic local food right at the start! Or the end as an incentive however you see it. Either way you’re motivated we opted to pop in at the end of our walk, once we had built up an appetite and of course the Sunday lunch rush had simmered down.

Local walking guides for Berkshire

We have many walking guide books and files for walks all around the country, but most of them are focused on our holiday destinations. We have a couple for the surrounding counties and last year we spent some time trying to find some of the better trails in the local area for day excursions both close and further afield.

This particular walk featured in two of our walking guides, had estimated course duration of a couple of hours which was perfect for our Sunday stroll and late pub lunch!

Frilsham walk highlights include holly woods & an old well

Soon as you leave the pub car park, you head up a lane past the local microbrewery up between several cottages towards a dense wood of holly trees with a lovely little old Well called St Frideswide’s Well, which apparently contains water with miracle healing properties.

Whilst we did scoop up the water to rinse our hands and faces, we did not actually drink any despite a moments consideration.

For anyone interested in the history, the adjacent sign says:

“Legend says that as a young Christian princess, Frideswide was pursued by a pagan suitor, and fled to Frilsham. She stayed beside this well, using it’s water for miracle healing. Later, about 700AD, she founded a convent in Oxford, where her shrine is now. Her feast day is 19th October.”

St Frideswide's Well - Frilsham

St Frideswide’s Well with miracle healing waters in Frilsham (Photo taken Jan 2013 by Piers Caswell)

Walking through the woods, with so many treasures to find

As you pass through the woods (Sulham’s Copse) which is very wet and muddy, we saw plenty of Polypore fungi on many of the fallen trees either side of the track. There were several different species albeit tattered old specimens, but the only one we thought we recognised confidently was the Piptoporus Betulinus (aka The Birch Polypore).

Once you leave the woods, you pass through the little village of Frilsham and immediately enter a woodland track (Hawkridge Wood), with piles of lumber, which we assume is waiting for pick-up.  As you carry on through the woodland you pass other large stacks of felled wood awaiting transportation.

As we continued down this track, we saw plenty of wildlife before spotting what looked like a metal detector convention in the opposite field. There were maybe 10 to 20 men all pacing up and down swinging their metal detectors looking for treasure; we speculated that they were seeking a forgotten stash of Gold coins, dating back to the Roman occupation. Shortly after witnessing the treasure hunters, we hopped across a dilapidated fence into a small opening in Highwood Copse for a quick break, sat in a perfect sunbeam illuminating this one particular spot. It looked like there was hundreds of bluebells getting ready to bloom; unfortunately we were probably a couple of weeks too early to witness the wondrous blue carpet.

Birth Polypore - Piptoporus Betulinus

An old tattered looking Birch Polypore – Piptoporus Betulinus (Photo taken by Piers Caswell March 2015)

Did you know

The cut surface of the Birch Polypore can be used to (razor) strop a knife, as the final stage of sharpening to give the finest edge, by re-aligning the indentations of a blades edge.

Wear strong walking boots and don’t forget the tinsel

That whole stretch gets very muddy, even on the most glorious summer days, so good strong footwear is essential in our opinion. Especially as your feet can sink a good 12 inches if misplaced, I know mine did and it’s quite a hard trudge to keep on through it, if you don’t pay attention to each footstep.

Once you’re out of the quagmire you pass through a small field where you can see the M4 motorway and through a Christmas tree plantation at Yattendon Estate, full of thousands of Baby Christmas trees. At which point you know the pub is probably under a mile away as you re-join the road that leads to the end of the walk.

Baby Christmas tree's at Yattendon estate

Yattendon Estate – Christmas tree plantation (Photo taken Jan 2013 by Piers Caswell)

Did you know

Yattendon Estate was a pioneer in the UK Christmas Tree industry back in the 1970’s which continues today, being one of Britain’s biggest producers with over 600 acres and apparently they plant over 1.8 million trees.

Walk review: Pot Kiln Pub through Frilsham Village & Woodlands

As with all walks, the time of year can make a big difference to the experience in terms of difficulty and the sights to see in all their glory. But if you’re looking for a lovely short walk in the local area that isn’t too challenging OR if you’re on holiday and you’re staying nearby and looking for some fabulous food then this is the perfect walk for you!

It doesn’t take long from start to finish (took us 2 hours) and it’s a great afternoon out in the countryside.

Scenery:
3.5 Stars
Enjoyability:
3.5 Stars
Points of interest:
2.5 Stars
Average:
3.2 Stars
Pot Kiln Pub through Frilsham Village & Woodland walk details

Here are the walk specifics collated from several different written sources, which include the readings from our pedometers on a typical ramble. For more detailed information please purchase one of these fantastic walking guides or source the information on-line.

  • Distance

    3.5 Miles (5.7km)

  • Time required

    1-2 hours on an average pace and fair weather conditions.

  • Gradient / Ascent

    30 Metres (99ft)

  • Parking

    Spaces available in the Pot Kiln pub car park, though we would advise avoid arriving at busy (lunch) times.

  • Food / Refreshments

    Yes at Pot Kiln pub (p.s very yummy too)

  • Difficulty

    Easy, though becomes more challenging when it has been raining.

  • Acessibility / Path

    Not wheelchair friendly. Plenty of tracks, paths and couple of roads. Areas can get very muddy.

  • Dog friendly

    Yes, but keep on a lead or under control through Yattendon Estate

  • Maps

    OS Explorer 158 Newbury & Hungerford

    Aqua3

  • Toilets

    Only at the pub, none on the route

I have included a link to the traditional walking guide map, courtesy of WalkingUK.com.

You can find detailed instructions of the walk on-line via either:

Though personally we are a big fans of purchasing the walking guide books and ticking off the walks we have completed.

Map for Frilsham village walk

Image Source: http://www.walking-uk.com/frilsham.htm

On the right is appropriate quick link Google map for the Pot Kiln Public house, which is the starting point for the walk, as suggested by both guide books.

I don’t think they mind there car park being used, especially if you pop in for a pint whilst visiting! We have twice without complaint.

  • Public Transport

    This walk is not easily accessible via public transport using the following services:

  • Train Station: Nearest is Thatcham or Goring, but require a Taxi
  • Bus services: Eling Turn, but still require a Taxi
  • Travelling by car

    Arriving by car, there is parking available at the Pot Kiln pub

  • Coordinates: 51.453858, -1.206377
  • Nearest post code: RG18 0XX
Have you tried the food at the Pot Kiln pub?