Hampstead Park

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Grid Reference Streetmap Location Author Name
SU 436658 {Streetmap Location} John Dellow

 

The Park is privately owned but there are several footpaths which give access to view most areas of the estate. A good place to start is to park your car at Enborne Church (SU 436 658). There is good off-road parking to the south of the main road. You can then cross over the road and enter the Park by climbing a style to the left of the metalled road which gives vehicular access to the big house. You can follow this road through the Park (with the exception of a footpath diversion round the house) to the other entrance by Hamstead Lock on the Kennet & Avon Canal. You should allow almost an hour each way to give you time to take in all the countryside.

The predominant habitat is parkland. The trees are mainly mature oaks which are well spaced and give ideal habitat for many species particularly Jackdaws and Woodpeckers which nest in the many nooks and crannies. There is a grand avenue of Limes some of which have large bundles of Mistletoe. There are also Horse Chestnuts, Beeches and other deciduous trees. Conifers are also present with several large Cedars and Larches. The parkland areas are grazed with cattle and sheep and there are also good areas of woodland. Barn Owls are possible in the evenings.

There are some interesting ponds as you approach Marsh Benham which can yield interesting duck and other water species. When you reach the road it is worth walking down to the weir to see if there is anything special. Kingfishers, and Grey Wagtails can sometimes be seen there. Unfortunately there is no convenient circular route so you must retrace your steps back to your car.

An alternative walk is to park on the outskirts of Hamstead Marshall where there is a small lay-by (SU 421 652) from there a signed footpath leads up the hill to join the metalled road just inside the Park from Enborne Church. From there you can walk to Hamstead Lock as before. This is a slightly longer walk but it is less frequented and goes through more varied habitat.

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