After Beechings massive railway cuts, several of the local downland branch lines have been closed. Newbury to Lambourn and Didcot to Newbury are two of the most well known. I’ve walked the Newbury to Lambourn route, something that was just amazing, following the original route in many places and touring the wonderful villages of the Downlands and Lambourn Valley. But in what I hope will form a nice series of blogs, I am going to walk the DNSR Didcot to Newbury railway in sections that I hope most people could complete and rate them for their dog walk potential.
So I am following An Historical Survey of the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway – Layouts and Illustrations and starting at the Didcot end of the route. Partially because it’s easy to get too, but also because it’s the easiest part of the route to follow (well sign posted). The route is a very easy 5 mile walk from Didcot Parkway station to the original Upton and Blewbury station.
Start: Didcot Parkway Station (DNSR terminus)
Waypoint: Upton and Blewbury Station
End: Didcot Parkway Station
Distance: 5.1 miles
Time taken: 2 hours
Elevation change: Level ground, less than 10m.
Dog walking: 2 miles on lead, 3 miles off lead. Some cattle. Lots of other dogs and people.
Track condition: Tarmac surface along entire route
Accessibility: Mostly flat, smooth ramps available. Cattle gate at Upton end restricts access. Quite a few seats available on the route.
Difficulty: Very easy walk.
Starting at the Train station in Didcot (called Didcot Parkway), it’s possible to follow the new link road east past Riches Sidings to a roundabout that marks the first remnants of the original embankment through Didcot. From here there are good sign posts showing routes to Upton. This largely follows the original rail line. Once out of Didcot the embankment climbs above the surrounding countryside and it’s possible to see quite a distance.
On the route back, I diverted through Didcot itself and through some of the estates and past schools. You can follow the return journey here
I’ve not added pictures for this one as there are plenty on-line already. One thing to note is that in Upton right next to the old station house there is a playing field and small playground. If your walking with a picnic it’s a great half way point; or check out the Pub in Upton – it’s next to the old station house.
Next article… Didcot to Newbury – the old Railway walk – Part 2