Maps contain Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2015
Approximately 3 miles.
From the crossroads on the Stoke Row Road, follow the road signposted towards Sonning Common and Reading. Walk to the junction of Gravel Hill and Peppard Road – it’s interesting to note the different styles and ages of houses along this stretch of straight road. At the junction cross (carefully) to Blounts Court Road. Continue on, past Springwater Church and then take the footpath left, just before Home Farm (on your left) and just past the entrance to Churchill Crescent on your right.
The footpath takes you between two open fields with views towards Johnson Matthey on the right. In the summer we have found ourselves surrounded by crops of Poppy/Rape Seed/Barley/Wheat fields which are all a treat. Continue on down into a wood of beech trees. Soon the path comes very close to Sedgehill Spring on your left. It’s faced with a brick structure decorated with an ornate carving of an elephant. According to the Woodland Heritage Manual – 2008 ‘It was built by the Knollys family who bought the Blount’s Court estate in 1841. The spring is still a prominent feature after restoration in the 1960s.’
On to the gate at the bottom of the wood and across the field where you can branch left leading through a close wooded path, or to the right where you will walk to the left of an open field. Take the right hand one and remember to turn and admire the open fields and wonder at the lack of a single road in your view. It brings you out across a small track to the flint All Saints’ Church. Worth a look, beautifully tended and cared for, and a very attractive spire. Turn to your left and follow the road to the Top Common, passing Peppard School on your right. With the school to your back, cross the Common heading for a blue and white vehicle weight limit sign. Cross the main road and head straight for the narrow road (Colliers Lane) opposite, which will lead you through arching trees, round, down and then back up again. At the top you will reach the Unicorn pub, should you wish to stop for a well earned pint, or if you prefer, before you get to the pub take the (not easy to see) left hand footpath up some steps shortly after Manor View house on the climb back up the hill. This will bring you back on to the Top Common via Peppard cricket pitch.
Skirt the cricket pitch clockwise and you’ll meet up with a short path through the heather that brings you out opposite the car park. If you go to the Unicorn, turn left after your drink and follow Stoke Row Road back to the car park. The very best time to do this walk is on a late summer’s evening when the sun is low in the sky and all the rich colours of the landscape and dappled light of the trees are at their best. Listen out for the numerous birds and watch the soaring kites. Quite often we have seen deer, and we have once eye-balled a fearless fox at close range, which was quite an experience.
Angela & Eric Davison