Pete's Walks - Goring, Hartslock, Cray's Pond (page 1 of 4)

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If you are considering walking this route yourself, please see my disclaimer. You may also like to see these notes about the maps.

Google map of the walk

I did this circular walk of about 8.3 miles on Saturday, 23rd May 2015 (it was the walk I'd postponed the previous Saturday because the Orchids I wanted to see weren't yet all in flower). It was a new route for me - over half of the walk was on paths I'd not walked before and the final section I'd not walked since my second Chiltern Way walk in 2007. 

In each of the two previous years I'd spent a day driving to Goring to see the rare orchids at Hartslock, then calling in at one or two other nature reserves on the way home to find other orchids. Goring is a 75-80 minute drive each way for me, the longest drive I do for any walks in the Chilterns, which is why I've only done a few walks from or through the village (sections of the Chiltern Way and my Berkshire-Essex walk, plus Walk 20 of my Chiltern Chain Walk). So if I was going to go all the way to Goring, it seemed a good idea to combine the hunt for orchids with a short walk (especially as I can only manage 7-8 miles at the moment do to this fatigue issue I've been suffering from for the last couple of years).

I parked at the far end of Manor Road, where it deteriorates into a very rough and uneven track (Grid Reference: SU 801602) and started walking at about 9.30am. I followed the track that was the continuation of Manor Road - after a few hundred yards this turned left, then after a short distance it turned right beside a railway embankment. After another hundred yards or so it turned left again, to go under a railway bridge and continue on to Gatehampton Manor. Here a sign on a wall indicated where the path turned left along a surfaced drive.

The track continuing from the end of Manor Road, Goring, to Gatehampton Manor

 

The track to Gatehampton Manor

 

Approaching Gatehampton Manor

 

At the end of the drive I turned right along a bridleway, soon passing Kingfisher Cottage on my right. A little further on I passed a path junction, where the riverside path from Goring came in on my right (that's actually a nicer path to reach this point, I only came the way I did today because it saved me from having to pay to park in the centre of Goring and because it made a change from following the riverside path). The bridleway carried on between fences and hedges, with the Thames somewhere over to my right and steep hills rising to my left. When I reached the edge of a wood, I took a footpath going left. This rose steeply up a scrub-covered hillside, close to a fence on my right. I passed a bench at the top of the climb, where there was a fine view back towards Goring, and continued beside the fence until I reached a pedestrian gate. Here I took a break from the walk, to explore the Hartslock nature reserve. I saw the Lady Orchid, Monkey Orchid and Lady/Monkey hybrid orchids that I wanted to see, plus a Green Hairstreak butterfly.

 

The bridleway from Gatehampton Manor

 

The bridleway from Gatehampton Manor

 

The path climbing up to the Hartslock Nature Reserve

 

The path continuing past the Hartslock nature reserve

 

Looking west from the same point, back towards Goring

 

I then resumed the walk, now entering what was new territory for me. The path continued a short way downhill to a farm gate, where I turned right on what the OS map marks as an 'other route with public access'. This proved to be a narrow path, heading eastwards and gradually rising uphill. Initially there was a large meadow on the right, then woodland. I spotted a male Bullfinch along here, but it flew off before I could get a photo. At the top of the hill there was field of oil-seed rape on my right, and I spotted my first Goat's-beard of the year beside the path. I continued straight on at a path junction, to reach the end of a lane.

 

The path going east from near the reserve

 

The path going east from near the reserve

 

The path going east from near the reserve

 

The path going east from near the reserve

 

The path going east from near the reserve

 

The path going east from near the reserve

 

I continued down the lane, passing Cockpit Plantation on my left after a few hundred yards. I then passed a cottage on the left. A little further on I turned left onto a bridleway, starting opposite the drive to Coombe End Farm over to my right.

 

The first section of lane, approaching Cockpit Plantation on the left

 

Just before I turned off the lane (behind the hedgerow on the left)

 

Part 2 of this walk

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