Walk Duration: 1 hour 45
Suitable for: Baby carriers (several stiles and kissing gates)
Walk Features: Red kite sightings, woodland trails, bluebell woods, far reaching field views, gentle hills, pub at start/finish
This is a varied walk through the hills and woodland near Binfield Heath, not far from Henley on Thames. There is ample opportunity to spot Oxforshire’s native red kites on the field stretches and you also stand a good chance of seeing deer, and hare on occasion. The woods are glorious in late spring, filled with bluebells on the final stretch back to the pub. The walk starts and finishes at the Bottle and Glass public house, which has an excellent beer garden and serves food daily. There are some hills but these are fairly short stretches with most of the walk enjoying gentle undulating paths and good under conditions underfoot.
This walk starts at the Bottle and Glass public house in the small village of Binfield Heath. The first stretch is the least scenic and takes you along the road through the outskirts of the village for 0.7 miles. After passing Gravel Road on your left hand side you will follow along the road by hedging next to a field. At the end of the field is a red brick house and on right hand side opposite is a track, marked with a footpath sign. Take this lane down to Comp Farm. As the lane stops by the farm, the trail continues straight ahead into the open field and follows gently downhill on a well-marked tractor trail. The views open up here towards Caversham and you can often see roe deer running through the fields here.
Continue on down the hill until you get to a way marker crossroads. You should bear to the right at this point and continue across the fields, now with a copse running along on your right hand side. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a hare along this stretch of the walk and if you haven’t seen them yet, look out for the red kites swooping overhead.
Follow the footpath through the gap in the hedge and then follow the footpath signs straight on up the opposite hill, keeping the hedge on your left hand side. This is the best spot on the walk for viewing red kites, with as many as five or six at a time whirling overhead and taking advantage of the open fields stretching all around to spot their prey. After a short but sharp pull up the hill the footpath follows the edge of the field round to the right and passes through a gap in the hedge on your left onto a private driveway. Follow the driveway downhill for a short stretch and then cross through the kissing gates on your left hand side and continue straight across the small field to the road. Cross over at the road and go through the kissing gates on the opposite bank and up the slope into the adjoining field.
The way is marked clearly across the stretch by wooden post waymarkers with yellow arrows on and the path follows diagonally across the field. There are often cattle in this field so keep dogs under control. As you pass over the brow of the hill you will be able to see the satellite station at Crowsley Park tucked down in the next valley – a point of interest rather than too much of a blot on the landscape, and you will have yet more opportunities to spot red kites in the skies above.
Continue straight on your path and at the end of the field you will reach a quiet lane. Turn immediately to your right, walking a couple of meters along a dirt track on the side of the road and the take the first path on your right, passing into the woods. Walk along the trail along the edge of the woods and then turn downhill before beginning the final climb through the bluebell woods. You finally emerge next to fields behind the pub and following the trail which bends round to your right will take you back to the start ad a well deserved drink at the Bottle and Glass pub.
Map of Route:
From Reading, through Caversham and along the B481.
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