This walk takes you around the countryside, parkland and woodland surrounding the village of Sonning Common in Oxfordshire. The village is a popular place for walkers wishing to explore a quiet area of the Chilterns. It is the home of the Sonning Common Health Walks set up in 1996 by Dr William Bird. The walks aim to reduce heart disease, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, relieve depression and anxiety, reduce stress, tackle obesity, and help with diabetes.
The circular route uses a section of the Chiltern Way long distance trail and other public footpaths to explore the area. It runs for just under 6 miles on reasonably flat paths with some small climbs on the way. Walk highlights include some lovely views of the Chiltern Hills, peaceful woodland trails and the interesting BBC owned Crowsley Park.
The walk starts just to the south of the village at the Millenium Green and Bird in Hand Pub where you can pick up the Chiltern Way. Follow it north east and it will take you to Crowsley Park. The country estate is owned by the BBC and though it is not open to the public there are public footpaths crossing the park with views towards the 18th century mansion. Among Crowsley Park's former owners were the Baskerville family who provided the inspiration for Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles. Since the Second World War, Crowsley Park has been the site of a signals-receiving station used by BBC Monitoring. In 2018, the BBC began a further modernisation of the facility, including the installation of 18 new satellite dishes.
The route then turns north along Kings Farm Lane, taking you around a section of Crowsley Park Woods, to the east of Rotherfield Peppard. The route then turns south to follow country lanes back to the Chiltern Way. This will then lead you back to the start point where you can enjoy refreshments at the Bird in Hand pub.
To continue your walking in the area, head east to the River Thames where you can visit the pretty riverside village of Sonning on our Reading to Henley Walk.