12 lovely Autumn pub walks
Autumn is the time to walk – there’s the crackle of leaves underfoot, the air is fresh but not frozen and the darkness of winter is yet to filly set in. Follow it with a pint in a cosy pub and you’ve got yourself a perfect day out. Here are our pick of 12 pubs with great walks nearby.
The White Oak Cookham
If you’re up for a whopper, head over to Cookham, park in the National Trust car park and head out across open countryside, a golf course, fields and woodland, up to Winter Hill via Cookham Dean. Take in the views over the Thames before descending to finish with a stroll along a popular stretch of the Thames towpath and back into Bookham. It’s take over 3 hours, but the good news is you can reward yourself with a leisurely scoff and quaff at The White Oak. Awesome gastropub food, relaxed vibes and the kids are welcome.
The White Oak, The Pound, Cookham Berkshire SL6 9QE. Tel: 01628 523043
The Oak and Saw, Taplow
Well, you’re 3 miles from Cliveden, so you can do as little or as much as you like. Stroll through the formal gardens, stomp through the woods and if you’re super-keen hike down to the river. Just brace yourself for the uphill climb. Ready for some top pub grub? The Oak & Saw is just a few miles away in the village of Taplow (home to the late Terry Wogan). Cosy vibes, pub classics (the steaks and roasts are legendary) and a village green view. There, there… that’s better.
Oak & Saw, Rectory Rd, Taplow, Maidenhead SL6 0ET. Tel: 01628 604074
Bel and the Dragon, Windsor
Enter Windsor Great Park through Cambridge Gate and walk along the formal avenue of the Long Walk. Take in the impressive views of Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, and watch out for the deer. Once you have taken in enough fresh air and scenery, head to Bel and the Dragon on Thames Street. Situated in the shadow of the castle, this historic pub has three cosy rooms with beams and an open fire, serving real ales, a good choice of wines and tasty food suitable for all the family.
Bel & The Dragon, Thames Street, 1 Datchet Road, Windsor Berkshire SL4 1QB. Tel: 01753 866056.
The Beehive, White Waltham
For the super-keen there is a 6-mile circular walk, taking you through Shottesbrook parkland, that will test your physical and mental stamina post NYE. The good news (ahem), you can bail out and take a number of short cuts to hasten your entrance to The Beehive. A fab gastropub, sink into the leather chairs and enjoy the great food.
The Beehive, Waltham Rd, White Waltham, Maidenhead SL6 3SH. Tel: 01628 822877
The Crown, Bray
The Crown at Bray, High St, Bray, Maidenhead SL6 2AH. Tel: 01628 621936.
Royal Oak, Yattendon
Pack your wellies, peeps, because the circular walks around the Royal Oak in Yattendon tend to be a bit muddy. There’s a family friendly loop that starts at the Village Hall and brings you out at the back of St Paul and St Peter’s church. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous (or slightly less hungover) there is a circular walk that takes you over to Frilsham and through the woodland, before bringing you back to the roaring fire and cosy loveliness of The Royal Oak. Children and dogs are welcome. Currently in the middle of a remodel so the garden is closed.
The Royal Oak, The Square, Yattendon RG18 0UG. Tel: 01635 201 325.
Dundas Arms, Kintbury
You’re spoilt for choice for good walks with the priddy Kennet & Avon towpath right on the doorstep and the slightly more challenging Ridgeway nearby. More importantly the Dundas Arms is the perfect destination when you are feeling a little fuzzy. Spend a lazy afternoon messing about by the river before sinking into a winged chair by the log fire and enjoy good gastropub food – think beer battered cod and triple cooked chips to a proper Sunday roast.
The Dundas Arms, 53 Station Rd, Kintbury, Hungerford RG17 9UT. Tel: 01488 658263.
The Bull, Sonning
Stroll around the village, stalk George Clooney, take in the picturesque St Andrew’s church (PM Theresa May’s a regular) and Thames towpath, before taking up residency in The Bull in Sonning. A pretty 16th Century inn near the river, this old-fashioned pub has cosy alcoves, leather chairs and sofas, low ceilings and roaring fires. Expect a proper pub menu with a modern twist.
The Bull Inn, Sonning-on-Thames, High St, Sonning, Reading RG4 6UP. Tel: 0118 969 3901.
The Bladebone, Bucklebury
There are a number of circular walks that kick off from The Bladebone in Bucklebury – ranging from 4 to 7 miles. The shortest takes you from Bucklebury Common north circuit, through woodland and common ground. The longest takes in Frilsham and Stanford Dingley through woods and lush meadows on either side of the Pang Valley. Book a table at buzzy The Bladebone and reward yourself with a pint and 3-course blow out. Thrust me, you’ll have earned it.
The Bladebone, Chapel Row, Reading RG7 6PD Tel: 0118 971 4000.
The Old Boot Stanford Dingley
There’s a serious amount of walking going on in these parts, with a five-mile circular route that would take whopping 3.5 hours to complete, taking you along the River Pang through woodland down to the Pot Kiln in Frilsham. You then loop back and down a byway that drops back into the village of Stanford Dingley past two pubs, The Bull and The Old Boot. At the Old Boot you’ll find roaring fires, sleeping dogs and an enormous garden if the walking has completely knackered the kids and animals. There are plenty of shorter strolls if you’re needing that glass of red in less than hour.
The Old Boot Inn, Stanford Dingley, Reading RG7 6LT. Tel: 0118 974 5191.
The Bunk, Curridge
A cheeky 50-minute walk to justify the afternoon blow out at The Bunk Inn. Set off down Kiln Drive before taking the byway 75m away and head off down the byway, across a field, down another byway and then make your way through the winding roads of Curridge village before you get back to The Bunk Inn. Warm you toes by the fire, grab a glass of wine and tuck into a lovely Sunday Roast or a posh pub classic. If you need a lie down, they have rooms too.
The Bunk Inn, Curridge, Thatcham RG18 9DS. Tel: 01635 200400.
The Pheasant, Lambourn
In the heart of National Hunt country there are plenty of walks across the North Wessex Downs. A designated area of outstanding natural beauty, you’ll find plenty of ancient woodlands and open downloads to yomp across in area ideal walking, with a wide range of routes for all ability levels. Just make sure you are within striking distance of The Pheasant. A characterful country pub, with quirky touches and a fantastic rep for unfussy, fabulous British food using local, seasonal ingredients.
The Pheasant, Ermin St, Shefford Woodlands, Hungerford RG17 7AA. Tel: 01488 648 284.