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Berkshire

Hiking in Berkshire

Hiking

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Photo: Clive

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The variety of walks in Berkshire is vast and you can explore ancient woodland, walk around the country’s most famous castle or ramble along riverbanks without leaving the county borders. West Berkshire almost entirely falls within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and allows you to explore undulating pastoral landscapes dotted with picturesque villages and valleys. In the east, you can roam the trails of Swinley Forest and the extraordinary Windsor Great Park. 


The River Thames acts as a northern border for parts of the county and if you’re after waterside hikes in Berkshire, you can follow the River Kennet through much of the region. The Kennet & Avon Canal traverses half the county and numerous lakes are clustered together offering excellent walking trails with plenty of bird spotting opportunities.


Reading, Newbury and Bracknell are the largest settlements but you’ll find much quieter and quainter places to rest too. Short strolls or day-long hikes, there are adventures for everyone in Berkshire. 


Top 20 best walks and hikes in Berkshire

    Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    1
    1
    Intermediate
    03:13
    7.21 mi
    2.2 mph
    700 ft
    700 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    2
    Difficult
    05:04
    11.9 mi
    2.3 mph
    600 ft
    600 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
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  • 3
    Easy
    01:33
    3.59 mi
    2.3 mph
    225 ft
    225 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    4
    Intermediate
    02:30
    6.15 mi
    2.5 mph
    75 ft
    75 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    5
    Intermediate
    02:05
    5.12 mi
    2.5 mph
    50 ft
    50 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    6
    Intermediate
    02:10
    5.29 mi
    2.5 mph
    50 ft
    50 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    7
    Intermediate
    01:37
    3.74 mi
    2.3 mph
    250 ft
    225 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    8
    Easy
    01:24
    3.18 mi
    2.3 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    9
    Intermediate
    03:45
    8.97 mi
    2.4 mph
    300 ft
    300 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    10
    Intermediate
    01:01
    2.52 mi
    2.5 mph
    25 ft
    25 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    11
    Intermediate
    02:11
    4.86 mi
    2.2 mph
    475 ft
    475 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    12
    Intermediate
    04:14
    9.59 mi
    2.3 mph
    825 ft
    825 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    13
    Intermediate
    02:38
    6.32 mi
    2.4 mph
    200 ft
    200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    14
    Intermediate
    02:29
    5.90 mi
    2.4 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    15
    Easy
    01:37
    3.87 mi
    2.4 mph
    100 ft
    100 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    16
    Intermediate
    02:03
    4.73 mi
    2.3 mph
    300 ft
    300 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    17
    Intermediate
    02:47
    6.43 mi
    2.3 mph
    425 ft
    425 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    18
    Intermediate
    02:03
    4.80 mi
    2.3 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    19
    Easy
    01:45
    4.26 mi
    2.4 mph
    75 ft
    75 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    20
    Intermediate
    02:05
    5.14 mi
    2.5 mph
    50 ft
    50 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View

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Up to the downs and down to the rivers


Some of the best hiking trails in Berkshire take in the glorious landscape features of its downlands and rivers. In the West, the county falls within the North Wessex Downs AONB, and when you explore the Lambourn Downs, you’ll soon see that it deserves its designation. Hikes from Berkshire’s pretty settlements of Lambourn, Eastbury and East Garston all take you from the thatched cottages alongside the River Lambourn up to the rolling downland above. Bridleways, byways, footpaths and tracks criss-cross the hills here and you can explore from farm to farm with excellent views. 


On the River Kennet and its neighbouring canal, you can enjoy stunning walks along Berkshire’s main waterway as it flows east through Newbury to its confluence with the Thames at Reading. Woodlands, meadows, medieval parkland and pretty locks combine to make this area a tranquil adventuring ground. 


Grand houses and a royal abode


There’s plenty of rural countryside to enjoy but you could also spend most of a day exploring the phenomenal Windsor Great Park, part of the enormous Windsor Castle estate. This world-renowned slice of history is one of the primary homes of Queen Elizabeth II and has been continually occupied since the original castle was built in the 11th-century. 


Walking around the castle and its sprawling estate makes for a majestic adventure for children and adults. The park is expansive, with ponds, lakes, avenues, statues and, in total, covers around 5,000 acres (2,020 ha). The majority of the Great Park is free to enter. This isn’t the only magnificent abode in the county – just outside Streatley on the Thames is Basildon Park, a Palladian-style 18th-century house set into stunning parklands and under the management of the National Trust. It has been used as a location in films and shows such as Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, and Marie-Antoinette.

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