What to See and Do
Woodspeen Manor is ideally located for an extensive range of activities such as horse racing, horse riding, golfing, shooting, canoeing, fishing, walking, cycling, spa or theatre. Whatever you do during your stay here at Woodspeen Manor, we sincerely hope that you have the most wonderful time! If you are interested in participating in an activity not listed here, please do not hesitate to contact George, who will be able to advise you further. See below for more information on activities in West Berkshire and links:
Horse Racing : Lambourn
There are over 2000 horses in training in the Lambourn valley with over 50 Racing Yards. The springy downland turf make the perfect gallops and the large uninterrupted open spaces create an ideal environment in which to breed and train horses. The Lambourn Open Day held on Good Friday every year is a great opportunity to experience the horses close up.
Newbury Race Course
Not only a top sporting venue but also a first class Conference & Events venue. Home to the famous Hennessy Gold Cup, Newbury offers some of the best horseracing in the country, throughout the year, with raceday hospitality to match. See the link below for forthcoming events in the racing and events calendar. www.newbury-racecourse.co.uk
Whether you are looking for a gentle pony trek or a full on gallop over the Berkshire downs, we have some excellent riding schools in the area, catering for riders of all abilities. See below to find a riding school to suit you. http://www.littlehiddenfarm.co.uk/riding.php http://www.ambitions-ec.co.uk/
Here in West Berkshire, we are fortunate to have many great and challenging golf courses in close proximity to Woodspeen Manor. Why not bring your clubs and enjoy a round during your stay with us. Enjoy the breath taking and beautiful course at Donnington Grove, or try not to be too intimidated by the 5th hole on the West Berks course, one of the longest holes (627 yards) in Southern England. See below to find a course to suit you. http://www.donningtonvalleygolfclub.co.uk/ http://www.donnington-grove.com/ http://www.thewbgc.co.uk/ http://www.deanwoodpark.co.uk/
West Berkshire is home to many of Britain's most famous pheasant and partridge shoots. There are some excellent estates in the area, providing access to an enormous variety of pheasant and partridge shooting, essentially, to suit all tastes. Downland valleys, traditional wooded drives and the classic partridge terrain of high hedges and deep chalk valleys symbolise what shooting here is all about. But there is more to shooting than just the sport. With a hospitable host and a lovely location for lunch, you will enjoy, hopefully more than just a successful sporting day out. << Contacts for shoots>>
Boating, Canoeing & Kayaking
Woodspeen Manor is the ideal location from which to explore the local river ways of the Kennet and Avon Canal. The Kennet and Avon Canal has been developed as a popular heritage tourism destination for boating and canoeing. The River Kennet itself, from near its sources west of Marlborough down to Woolhampton, has been designated as a SSSI primarily because it has an extensive range of rare plants and animals that are unique to chalk watercourses. Bring your own canoe or kayak and explore the local waterways in the immediate vicinity at Hungerford, in and around Newbury and up to Great Bedwyn, or contact one of the associations below for details on day trips or week long organised holidays. http://www.yumping.co.uk/canoeing/adventure-dolphin-newbury-canoeing--e19628424 http://www.adventuredolphin.co.uk/courses/search?activity=canoeing&location=newbury&time=evenings&level=beginner&dofe=training
Hungerford, in particular, is ideally situated in the valley of the Kennet River and at the side of the Kennet and Avon Canal for anyone with an interest in fishing. This gives the visitor access to arguably some of the best chalk stream, trout and grayling fishing, in the south of England , and a coarse fishing water holding fish of prize winning proportions! Although most of the Kennet system waters are in the hands of syndicates and occasional fishing can be hard to find, it will be worth it when you do. The river waters that pass through Hungerford are owned by the Commoners of Hungerford and they jealously guard their ancient rights to fish. But stop for a while on Eddington Bridge on a summers afternoon and marvel at the clarity of water and luxuriant growth of Water Crowfoot, and if you are lucky, you will see the elusive wild Kennet trout with its butter yellow belly or a flash of the huge dorsal fin of the silver Grayling as they feed on the abundant insect life that teems in the spring fed waters. You may even spot the rare species of Common Trout Fisherman practicing the black art of Fly Fishing. If hunting Carp, Bream or Pike is more to your liking then a day ticket on the canal through the Hungerford and District Angling Association will reward you with many enjoyable hours fishing. To while away a day on the towpath by St Lawrence's Church is many a person's idea of heaven. You are certain to see lots of wildlife, as it is the home of the Kingfisher, the Heron, and many wildfowl. Watch out for the delightful Water Vole as it potters along the bank – a protected species - it lives happily along the Canal and the River close to the centre of the town. For trout and grayling fishing contact: http://www.roxtons.co.uk/
If it's peace and relaxation you are after, then you have come to the right place! Woodspeen Manor is extremely well placed for some truly wonderful spa experiences. Located just minutes from the very prestigious and award winning Vineyard Hotel, you can enjoy an exquisite afternoon of unadulterated pampering and escape the stresses of everyday life! Go on! You know you're worth it! http://www.the-vineyard.co.uk/spa.asp http://www.donningtonvalley.co.uk/spa_introduction.asp
Woodspeen Manor is situated just minutes from the very beautiful WaterMill Theatre. The Watermill Theatre is one of the UK's most successful regional producing theatres and produces nationally renowned work. The theatre seats 220 people within a stunning converted mill situated in beautiful gardens on the bank of the river Lambourn just outside Newbury in West Berkshire. The compact building makes the theatre experience extraordinarily intimate for both performers and audience. See below for what's on during your stay. http://www.watermill.org.uk/
Walking, Cycling and Wildlife Enthusiasts
There are many beautiful footpaths and byways to explore in and around Woodspeen Manor, almost too many to mention, though perhaps the tow paths adjoining the Kennet and Avon Canal deserve a special mention as they offer spectacular and tranquil views of the local countryside and access to much of the local wildlife. We are very fortunate to live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a large number of our local valleys and rural environs have been designated Sites of Scientific Interest. Of particular interest, the Thatcham Reed Beds, a 169 acres (68 ha) is nationally acclaimed for its extensive reedbed, and species-rich alder woodland and fen habitats. The latter supports Desmoulin's whorl snail (Vertigo moulinsiana), which is of national and European importance. A large assemblage of breeding birds including nationally rare species such as Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti) make use of the reedbed, fen and open water habitats found at Thatcham Reed Beds. Thatcham's network of gravel pits, reedbed, woodland, hedges and grassland is rich in wildlife and has been made into The Nature Discovery Centre by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
Nearby we have Highclere Castle and ancestral home of the Carnarvon family since 1679, it is currently home to the 8th Earl and Countess of Caernarfon. Built on an ancient site, the original house was recorded in the Domesday Book. The present day Castle was designed in 1842 by Sir Charles Barry, the architect also responsible for building the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. The Castle's history also includes a fascinating connection with ancient Egypt, as the 5th Earl, together with Howard Carter, discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in 1922. More recently, Highclere Castle has gained both aplomb and favour for its location for the renowned period drama, Downton Abbey. Donnington Castle
If its retail therapy you are after, we can offer a number of activities, in and around Woodspeen Manor. Why not explore the town of Hungerford, famous for its abundance of antique shops, or wile away a number of hours in historic Marlborough where you will find a number of lovely boutique and quirky shops? Close to Woodspeen Manor, Newbury offers a large number of the more popular high-street stores and for more extensive shopping The Reading Oracle (indoor shopping mall) is only half an hour's drive away. Glorious historic Oxford can also be reached within half an hour and Bristol with its extensive indoor and outdoor shopping amenities is achievable in 45 minutes by car.