Walk Distance: 2.8 km
Walk Duration: 1 hour (at a leisurely stroll)
OS Map: OS Explorer 171 Chiltern Hills West; OS Landranger 175 Reading & Windsor
Suitable for: babies in carriers, good little walkers, older kids.
Walk features: Lovely countryside views, some hills, pub, rolling hill and woodland scenery, some road walking on a country lane.
The Sonning Common Pub Lunch Circular walk is perfect for a lazy weekend wander. I tackled this one when nearly nine months pregnant so can attest to it being perfectly manageable despite carrying an extra load!
Starting from family and wallet friendly Butchers Arms pub in Sonning Common, the walk takes around an hour at a slow amble, heading up to the outskirts of Rotherfield Peppard village before returning through farmland to the pub for a well earned rest and bite to eat.
The Butchers Arms is particularly good place to start a walk. It has loads of space for kids including a large enclosed garden and play area and has baby changing facilities. It is also one of the few pubs in the area where you can get change from a tenner for a hot lunch with a soft drink and it also serves cake and hot drinks at other times of day. There is even an open log fire on a cold day to warm you up – perfect for family walkers!
Parking is available at the Butchers Arms. If you aren’t tempted to stop for a drink or some pub grub then there is also parking on the street just outside.
Leaving the car park with your back to the pub, turn left and walk along the side of the road. A short distance on you will see a footpath sign on the opposite side leading through a hedge. Turn right down this footpath and continue walking into the field beyond.
At the far end of the field you enter a small patch of woodland. Here the path descends quite steeply through the trees emerging into fields once more at the bottom. There are some lovely views here across the fields. Go through the gate to your left and follow the footpath along the right hand fence-line. Ignore the footpath that crosses diagonally left across this field.
Head through the opening in the top right hand corner of the field. If you are stopping for a snack or rest in warm weather then this is a great place to take it with some great views from the brow of the hill here across the surrounding countryside.
The path follows the left hand fenceline of this field uphill (ignore the track going diagonally right across the field). Leave the field in the top left-hand corner and continue through the field beyond. At the time of writing, you had to walk along a narrow path to the left-hand side of these as they were being used as paddocks for horses.
At the end of the path, the walk joins Church Lane on the outskirts of Rotherfield Peppard. Turn right, walking past the pretty Church of All Saints on your left. Dating from at least 1233 and possibly beyond, the Church is referred to in the Doomsday Book. It was restored in the late 19th Century.
Continue down Church Lane, away from Rotherfield Peppard. At the end, the lane splits off into two footpaths. Take the track to the right before shortly after turning left through a gate into the field beyond. Follow the fenceline on the left-hand side.
As the field bends round to the right towards woodland, follow the edge of the field still and continue slightly downhill. Ignore the more obvious looking path which passes left and out of the field onto an established track beyond! At the bottom, follow the footpath yellow arrow and pass through the opening through the trees into another large field.
Continue down hill following the right hand fenceline. The views across the fields here are lovely, particularly in the late afternoon light and it is a good place to spot Red Kites soaring above the ploughed rolling fields below.
Follow the field round and down until it meets a farm track at the bottom of the hill. Turn right out of the field and down this track, passing cattle sheds on your left.
The farm track continues slowly back up hill before passing through Blounts Farm and back onto the lane beyond.
Turn right and follow the lane back to the Butchers Arms and the start of the walk. Keep a watchful eye out for traffic here and keep children close in to the sides – despite its rural appearance, traffic sometimes comes too quickly along this lane.
Map of Route:
The walk starts from the Butchers Arms, Sonning Common. Parking is available at the pub for patrons or on the residential streets outside. The postcode is RG4 9RS and the pub is located on Blounts Court Road.
Buses run regularly from Reading to Sonning Common – check Transport Direct for your personalised travel plan.
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