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The Berkshire Downs

The northern scarp slope of the Berkshire Downs runs for nearly 25 km west of Streatley. The Ridgeway Trail follows the line of the escarpment, with the county boundary cutting back and forth across it.  The land is predominantly arable, the main crops being barley, wheat and oilseed rape. There are also substantial areas of grassland used for grass crops and grazing. Large numbers of sheep and pigs are raised and smaller herds of beef and dairy cattle. Racehorse training is an important activity in the Lambourn area. There are patches of woodland and copses, mostly on the slopes, and areas of scrub notably at Cow Down.THE DOWNS 690

Access:  The usual access points to the most-visited eastern areas involve parking at the end of Rectory Road in Streatley or Ambury Road Lane in Aldworth, driving south out of Blewbury down Bonham’s Road, or parking at one of the car parks either side of Bury Lane which leads north from West Ilsley. As well as the long distance Ridgeway path, the Downs are criss-crossed by footpaths giving good access to much of the area: an Ordnance Survey map is useful. Vehicle access on the Ridgeway path is limited although the trail is open to vehicles between April and October between Churn and Streatley.