Eat Drink Great Events

Visiting West Berkshire

We are quite fortunate in West Berkshire to be able to explore and enjoy lovely countryside and waterways. Much of the area is rural with a large proportion lying within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) consisting of open down land, ancient woodland and chalk streams.

Across the district you will find areas of heritage and conservation, listed buildings, monuments, registered parks, gardens and battlefields.

Food and Drink

There is excellent local produce in West Berkshire with farm shops, food and drink producers and real ale and cider brewers. Some of this produce is made available or used in the pubs and restaurants. The same venues that feature in the Michelin Guide, Good Food Guide and CAMRA's Good Beer Guide.

Throughout the towns and villages of the area there are charming pubs serving home cooked food, real ales and perfect to stop-by after a day out or visiting family. The restaurants are award winning and feature in well-respected guides.

Food and Drink

Entertainment

In addition to the regular live music hosted by our pubs, venues such as The Corn Exchange, New Greenham Arts, Arlington Arts and Ace Space provide superb evenings of entertainment with theatre, comedy and music all featuring regularly on their agendas. As well as free outdoor performances.

The two week Newbury Spring Festival provides a feast of word class music with international symphony orchestras, ensembles and soloists, jazz legends, world music artists plus the stars of tomorrow. Hungerford Arts Festival showcases community talent as well as hosting professional performers. Over the two and a half weeks' events include concerts, theatre, film, literary and art exhibitions

Rivers and Canals

The Kennet & Avon Canal links Bristol to London. Acting as a natural barrier across the South of England many Pillboxes were strategically placed along its banks in anticipation of a German invasion during the Second World War.

Sections of the K&A form part of the North Wessex Downs AONB and supports a diverse range of plant and wildlife. The restoration and reopening of the canal has seen its popularity return and allow for boaters, cyclists and walkers to enjoy the heritage.

And to help you explore the canal are several pubs either on the banks or a short walk where you can stop for suitable refreshment.

You can find more information on the Kennet & Avon Canal here.

Kennet and Avon Canal

The River Lambourn rises in the chalk hills of the Berkshire Downs near the village of Lambourn. Passing through beautiful villages in the Lambourn Valley, farm and woodland before joining the River Kennet near Newbury.

The River Lambourn, for most parts, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and supports rare and varied plant and wildlife. The chalk stream is one of only a few that has absolutely no abstraction and has the coldest water of any in southern England

Wild Brown Trout and Grayling thrive in the gin-clear and fast flowing waters lending itself to some fantastic fishing.

On its journey from Lambourn to Newbury there are several lovely village pubs to enjoy this beautiful river including the Three Horseshoes at Donnington.

The River Kennet, the largest tributary of the River Thames and one of England's most important chalk streams flows through West Berkshire, for most part adjacent to, and sometimes joining the Kennet & Avon Canal.

Its journey through the area includes the North Wessex Downs AONB and has been assigned as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) with the substantial range of rare plant and wildlife it supports.

The crystal clear and fast flowing waters, as with the River Lambourn, lend itself to chalk stream fishing. Including fly, brown trout, rainbow trout and coarse fishing.

There are many pubs within a short distance of the river, especially where it runs close to the canal, to provide welcome refreshment when out exploring.

For more on the River Kennet visit www.riverkennet.org

Walking and Cycling in West Berkshire

Being an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) West Berkshire has some beautiful countryside to explore. And surely the best way to achieve this is on foot or two wheels.

Whether a leisurely stroll, cycle ride or something more challenging, options are a plenty with the Lambourn Valley, Combe Gibbet, Kennet and Avon Canal and various woodland to enjoy.

For something more organised there is the West Berks Ramblers and for cyclists' annual events such as The Hungerford Big Wheel, Tour De Berkshire and organisations like West Berkshire Spokes.

More information about local routes can be found on both these organisations websites. Or just take a wander and see where life takes you.

Many pubs in West Berkshire can be found on these routes or indeed have walks that start and finish at their location. A great way to build up an appetite!

View from Coombe Gibbet

Combe Gibbet is at the southernmost tip of West Berkshire. From the summit visitors are rewarded with far reaching views over both Berkshire and Hampshire.

The Gibbet stands on the Inkpen Long Barrow. Popular with walkers, cyclists and those who wish to take to the skies, with hand gliders and paragliders often seen soaring above, and occasionally visible from Hungerford Common.

A peaceful location with sheep grazing on the hill side, skylarks and the occasional bird of prey hovering in the winds.

There is great historical value to this area with the rare double gibbet once being used to display the bodies of two locals in the 17th century. A short walk to the east and the Iron Age hill fort on Walbury Hill can be found.

For more on the history of Combe Gibbet visit the Inkpen Village website

Country Pursuits - West Berkshire with its rolling countryside of woodland, valleys and chalk rivers, lends itself to some excellent field sports. Exclusive family estates and commercial shoots pride themselves on hosting events around pheasant, partridge and wildfowl, deer stalking and clay pigeon shooting.

The gin-clear and fast flowing waters of both the River Kennet and Lambourn, as well as private lakes, are perfect for fly, brown trout, rainbow trout, grayling and coarse fishing.

There are several pubs in the area with accommodation that organise country sport days depending on the requirement and time of season. Such a pub would be the Queens Arms, East Garston.