A super varied flat walk. Cattle, horses, donkeys, ducks, goats, red kite, deer. Village and countryside. This walk is sometimes slightly overgrown in places and at the time of these notes footpaths across fields had not been reinstated after ploughing – please persevere – it needs walking! Explorer 193 (a map is recommended)
This route begins at the layby on the west side of the A5210 (the first layby on the left side of the road after going straight across the turning into Harlington after the garden centre). However, one could begin the walk from Harlington village centre, proceeding down Station Road and taking the footpath on the right after “The Bungalow”; crossing the fields and arriving at the A5120 and crossing the road.
From the layby take the footpath on your left across the fields, hedge on left. Follow it around. The actual footpath soon becomes overgrown and one will need to keep the hedge on the left (not the right as the map and footpath sign says – see photo below) and follow the field edge. However, this appears to be well trodden and not a problem.
Eventually you will approach the small hamlet of Harlington Wood End. (For a superbly researched history of this area please see the leaflet produced by Harlington Heritage Trust).
At the junction of paths just before the house, take the footpath on the right towards Wood End. Again it maybe preferable to turn left and follow around the edge of the field before proceeding in the direction of Wood End. On the main path shown on the map between Harlington Wood End and Wood End do not miss crossing over a small brambled-covered footbridge at the field’s edge on your left.
After this footbridge you should cross straight over field in a slightly right diagonal. (But again follow field edges if paths not reinstated). Eventually reach Wood End and turn right along short tarmac road. Cross the minor road and bear slightly left. Proceed and walk across the rides belonging to the stud farm.
Bear slightly left then right and cross the River Flit. Follow this path straight all the way into the back end of Westoning. Upon reaching Westoning turn right towards the church. Proceed along this and at the junction of the old Westoning road (where there is a small green) take the footpath on the right marked “Parish Church”. You are, however, not going towards the church.
This footpath runs along the backs of houses and then emerges into a signposted way through kissing gates across the stud farm.
Eventually turn left into a slightly overgrown area and follow the way round alongside the river. Upon reaching the main road turn right along the minor road. 50 yards along this road take the footpath on your left across the fields all the way back to Wood End.
Here again the footpath as shown on the map is often not reinstated so you can turn left just before reaching Harlington Wood End and follow across the field where the footpath should be (hard walking) or you can continue along to Harlington Wood End and retrace your early steps right back to the layby.
A map is recommended for this walk . The directions may sound complicated but it is well worth the effort to get out and walk in this rarely explored area.
6.25k. Allow an hour and a quarter. One could divert into Westoning if wished for refreshments or wait until back in Harlington!
My experience of walking this route in October 2016 was previously published here. (Not a lot has changed!)