Walk 1 – Little Stoke Ring – 2¾ miles

This walk, as do all the described walks, commences at St Andrew’s church South Stoke. There is parking on The Street outside the church.

Proceed north along The Street towards Ferry Road, at the road junction turn left continuing on the Ridgeway Path, at the next road junction turn left (west) again onto Ferry Lane (unmade road) towards the river. When you reach the river (Thames) you will see the Beetle and Wedge hotel on the opposite bank, and the boat slipway in front of you.

Turn right (north) through the gate (remembering to close this and all gates behind you) and proceed along the river bank continuing on the Ridgeway Path, past Sheridan Marine and the preparatory school on the opposite bank until you reach the Four Arches, which carries the Great Western railway across the Thames. Take time to look at the architecture of the bridges, the engineer being Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Passing under the Four Arches continue to follow the Ridgeway Path along the side of the river until you have to turn right (by an old boat house) which leads to Little Stoke House. Here the Ridgeway Path turns off to the left. Continue straight ahead on the footpath past Little Stoke House (which is also their drive) at the top of the drive turn left (east) following the footpath sign. At the road junction turn right (south) towards Little Stoke Manor onto Swan’s Way, follow the road until the road bends to the left and the drive to Little Stoke Manor is on your right. Straight ahead you will see a stile built into the wall, cross the stile and continue through the field, along Swan’s Way. Crossing the next stile you will cross a bridge over a brook fed by a fresh water spring, which is in water at certain times of the year.

Continue to follow the path through the field, which is now leading you towards the railway on the right, at the edge of the field you should be able to see the tunnel that carries the footpath under the railway, known locally as the ‘Bogey Hole’. Proceed through the tunnel and follow the footpath to the left and cross the field. The path exits the field to the right of Barr Ponds cottages, continue down the lane until you rejoin Ferry Road.

Turn right and at the junction with The Street turn left onto the Ridgeway Path and proceed to St Andrews church. This is the end of the walk.