Boulters Bash Theale to Whitchurch

The Alpaca Trail

Shortly after Theale, the first significant climb begins.On your right is a long brick and flint wall. This is the boundary to the grounds of Englefield House. 

Englefield House

Englefield House is an Elizabethan country house, built before 1588 with a surrounding estate, owned by the Benyon family since the 17th century. The gardens are open to the public throughout the year and the house by groups. You can glimpse the house and the estate's lake from time to time.
Englefield House's Lake

After the wall, you get a short sharp climb, after the drop and one further undulation you arrive at Bradfield. Were it not for the large public school it would be a tiny village.  A famous teacher at Bradfield was RA Fisher, widely regarded as the father of modern statistics and as an important biologist. Pupils included Tony Hancock,comedian; Brig. Mike Calvert, special forces commander; David Owen, Foreign Secretary and SDP founder.

You stop to cross at the junction and then dip down to cross the River Pang. A small climb and you turn right into Dark Lane. The aptly named road takes you under the M4 and through woodland towards Pangbourne. Pangbourne is an attractive, large village, though the steady stream of traffic in its centre doesn't add to its atmosphere. Kenneth Grahame, author of Wind in the Willows retired here. Grahame did not write the book in Pangbourne but the River Thames here is said to have been the inspiration for E. H. Shepherd’s illustrations in the book. Pangbourne has a station.

You continue and cross the Thames using Whitchurch Bridge, which is a toll road but free to cyclists.This bridge was rebuilt between 2013 and 2014 in a way that keeps its historic feel, At the time of the 2017 routecheck an exhibition of artistic knitting was taking place on the bridge.

Whitchurch Bridge

Whitchurch Village

A small climb and you take a right into Hardwick Lane. This brings you to the Bozedown Alpaca farm, with paddocks on both sides of the road for over 700 alpacas. A ubiquitous red kit or two may be hanging over the alpacas.

A not very good photo of a red kite

(c) Bozedown Alpacas

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