Walk Distance: 4.2km
Walk Duration: 1hr 15
OS Map: OS Explorer Chiltern Hills West 171, OSLandranger Reading & Windsor 175
Suitable for: baby carriers, all terrain pushchairs / buggies, little legs, older children
Walk features: leafy country lanes, bluebells in spring, dog friendly
The Highmoor Lanes and Hedgerows walk is an easy circular stroll through some very English country lanes. The walk is in the village of Highmoor, 5 miles west of Henley-on-Thames.
The start of the walk is on the side of the main road through Highmoor next to the Dog and Duck pub (n.b. this pub was closed at time of writing). There is parking in the pub car park (patrons only) or on streets in Highmoor nearby. If you are looking for refreshments in Highmoor before or after the walk you can try the family friendly and pretty Rising Sun pub 0.8 miles, Witheridge Hill – an easy 3 minute drive or 15 minute walk.
To begin the Highmoor walk, take the signposted track leading past the side of the Dog and Duck pub. This lane takes you away from Highmoor through the dappled woodland on the edge of Nettlebed Woods. When you reach the crossroads continue straight over following the signs for
the footpath and to the fantastically named Merrimoles. When you reach the buildings by Merrimoles, turn to your right and follow the bridlepath sign, joining another rough track lane with hedges on either side. All-terrain buggies should be fine here but it can get a bit muddy in places after periods of wet weather and the lane itself is a rough earth track and quite bumpy in places. Follow the lane around to the right, ignoring the trail off to the left at the bend in the track. Continue on this peaceful walk for half a kilometer, where the lane splits. Turn right here and carry on for another 0.8km past Westleaze Cottages, until you reach a crossroads with several buildings and houses around it.
At the crossroads, turn right onto a tarmac lane and enjoy some bump free walking if you are pushing a buggy! The drive takes you through lovely estate grounds with cattle in some parts and contrasts the wilder seclusion of the lanes of the walk so far. After passing the cattle grid (gate to the side for little legs and wheels!) the driveway bends around to the left. Here you have two options to continue your walk back to Highmoor – one following the driveway and bridleways on smoother pathways for buggies and little legs, the other exploring the woods on smaller (and muddier) footpaths and involves climbing stiles. Both options are listed here and return you to the walk start in Highmoor:
Option 1: If you are walking with a pushchair or buggy then you should continue down the driveway. Just before the drive turns at the end onto Rocky Lane there is a bridleway marked off to the right. Take this path and meander your way through the shade of Long Copse where in spring it is possible to see bluebells. It can get quite muddy at wet times of year so you will really need a good all-terrain buggy and a pair of wellies or good walking boots if it has been raining much recently.
When you reach the cross-section with the footpath continue straight across on the bridleway. Continue on this path until you reach the edge of the copse where you will rejoin your original path. Turn left and retrace your steps along the lane back to Highmoor and the Dog and Duck pub where the walk started.
Option 2: If you are walking with a baby carrier or walking age childrenthen at the bend in the driveway walk straight on off the driveway and onto the grass and towards a small stile ahead of you. Go over the stile (please take care – it is quite a rickety one and also requires some care with head clearance on the trees above if you are walking with a baby in a backpack) and enter the secluded woods beyond. The path weaves slightly uphill through the trees and is glorious in late spring when carpets of bluebells surround the footpath and adjoining woods. At the intersection with the bridleway carry straight on over on your same small footpath and through the woods. The path will take you to the edge of the
woods and past more formal looking rhododendron bushes before leading past the grounds of the Dog and Duck on your right. Keep round to the right and rejoin the main road, walking on a short stretch of pavement back to Highmoor and the pub car park where you started the walk.
Map of Route:
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