A walk around Chieveley using the Global Positioning System (GPS)

(Compiled with thanks by Karen Tyson)


This is a twist on the growing interest in geocache hunts. Walkers are invited to follow the trail of GPS coordinates to take them on a tour around Chieveley and across some of the nearby countryside. There are no caches to find, just the treasures of Chieveley from historic buildings and local landmarks to ancient footpaths in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A section of the route along the High Street has been designated a Conservation Area.

This walk, which is all on public footpaths or highways, was set up using a Garmin eTrex GPS.

The origin of Chieveley's name is first referred to in AD892 as Cifanlea. The Saxons founded it and in King Edred's charter of AD951 it says "The tillers of the soil gave it the name." The place name derives from the Old English Cifa's Ley. A Saxon called Cifa gave the settlement its name and Ley is Saxon for field, therefore Cifa's Field. It has also been suggested that the name refers to a field of chives, believed to be an abundance of allium which grew near to Coombe House.


The Global Postioning System (GPS) consists of 24 navigational satellites and was originally established in the US for military purposes. It has been widely used for navigation by shipping and airlines and more recently has become a useful and entertaining navigational aid for recreational purposes such as walking or cycling. To access this free technology all you need is a GPS receiver. These are readily available for sale and cost around £80. They are accurate to within 6 - 30 feet and can be used to locate your position anywhere in the world.

With GPS technology accessible to all, the fun game of geocaching was established as a high tech outdoor treasure hunt. Using a GPS device, or smartphone, players can take part by navigating to a set of GPS coordinates (longitude and latitude) and then searching for the geocache, which are hidden containers and can be located anywhere in the world.

To begin playing you need to register free of charge at www.geocaching.com then decide where you want your first adventure to be - at home, on holiday, or with friends. The hidden caches might be in a city park, down the high street, in a country village or in open countryside. The GPS coordinates will take you to the cache location, but then you have to search for the hidden container which may include small items to swap. There will also be a log book for you to make an entry and then you need to replace the container exactly where you found it. Finally, log your experiences at www.geocaching.com

 The Route

Coordinates and Route Notes

Local Information


Start at Chieveley Village Hall car park


OS Map 158







The village hall was built in 1957 and is used by a wide range of community groups from Chieveley Playgroup, to dog training, short mat bowls and the WI. It is run by a committee of volunteers and its major fund raising event is on Bonfire Night, 5 November, when the annual fireworks display takes place on the adjacent Recreational Ground.


Head south out of car park along the pavement to




Quackers is a day nursery which occupies the  former doctors' surgery.

Continue south to the following coordinates




Coombe House was formerly known as Parsonage House and was the rectory until at least 1720 when the vicar at the time built a new vicarage on adjoining land.  The building then became known as Coombe House.





The Old Bakehouse is a classical Georgian village property. It used to be a family owned grocery shop with its own slaughter house, Prismall's.  





Old Vicarage. This was built in the early 1720s and is a Grade II listed building. The New Vicarage was built about 1978 and is in Church Lane.





The Maypole Cottage is situated on the site of the former village maypole.

Head west along Church Lane to




The village war memorial  is in proud memory of the 34 men from the parish who died for England in the Great War 1914-1918 and the World War 1939-1945.


Continue west through the Lychgate o



St Mary the Virgin dates back to the 13th century and has some traces of Norman architecture.  It is likely there was a Saxon church before it was replaced by the Normans, and later the Victorians.


In the Post Office Directory of 1864 it notes that Chieveley is a large parish and village with the chapelries of Leckhampstead, Oare and Winterbourne and the tithings of Courage (now Curridge) and Snelsmore in the hundred of Faircross.

Among the directory's commercial listings in 1864 Chieveley had butchers, bakers, farmers, beer retailers, blacksmiths, farriers, a tailor and a harness maker.


Exit the churchyard through the gate at





Continue south and then at



Turn left, head east and then  cross Sowbury Park continuing  east at N51°27.729  W001°19.080 along a paved footpath between fenced gardens,

then turning south again prior to a left turn at




Houses in Sowbury Park were built in the 1970s on what was New Farm land.

You are now opposite the Old School House.  Turn left here at




The Old Infant Schoolroom, now Old School House, together with its adjoining cottage, was built in 1865 with the intention of educating younger children before passing them to the school at North Heath at the age of 7 years.  It was used as a school until the new school ,in School Road, was built in 1897.


Head north passing the former Methodist Church 1914.



The Methodist Church was built in 1914 and closed as a place of worship in the 1960s. It has been converted to a house.




Look through the gate to see Chieveley House at




Chieveley House is a Grade II listed building which was built in 1716. During WW2 it was taken over as a hostel for the Women's Land Army.


Continue north to the village shop



And bakery





The village shop sells bread from the adjacent bakery, Shepherds Bakery which was founded in 1898. It is popular with villagers and many benefit from its door to door delivery service with bread often arriving still warm from the oven.


The village post office has been sited in a number of locations over the years, including Sowbury House.  It was incorporated into the village shop in 1986.  Since then, there have been periods of post office closure but  under recent new management at the shop the post office has reopened and is a much appreciated service in the village.


Turn right into East Lane and head east at





At The Downland Practice




The Downland Practice is positioned on the former site of the Hare and Hounds pub which was well known for its skittle ally. 


An ancient well used to be located at the side of a courtyard by the pub and was one of the deepest in Berkshire. The well structure has now been moved nearer the road, at the front of the surgery.


Head SW and at


W001°18.882 follow the public footpath, keeping the surgery car park to your left.

Head west for a few yards at



Then turn immediate left, heading south again.








You are now at the back of Chieveley House, follow the footpath around the perimeter wall and find who built the wall 1980-1981 at




This is a narrow, well-used track with trees to the left and a view over a paddock.






At footpath junction at



Turn  south



The footpath ends by the bus stop and former pub, The Wheatsheaf. Turn left here




The Wheatsheaf was a Morland brewery pub. Morland's , Abingdon was bought by Greene King and the pub closed in 2000.  The pub has since been converted into a house.

Head south east to the village pub




Walking down Graces Lane towards the pub, this road was named after John Grace who lived in Chieveley for many years and died in 1816.


Ye Olde Red Lion occupies a 15th century building. It is the only remaining pub in the village, although there are others within Chieveley Parish.  It has a restaurant serving good food as well as snacks at lunch time.



Head south down Green Lane and walk for about ½ mile to




Before the M4 was built Green Lane used to join up with the old A34 and was part of the medieval road which ran from  Newbury to Chieveley High Street and on to Beedon then Oxford.


This part of the village is known as Horsemoor and there are many picturesque cottages along the lane.


Now  turn west walking between open  fields until reaching




These fields were Chieveley's Common Fields.

Head north along the byway  towards the village and at School Road



Turn left


Just before you reach the junction with School Road, you pass Horsemoor House on your right. This has been the home to several well known local families over the years.  It dates from the 17th century with additions made in the early 1800s.


Head west to




Chieveley Primary School was opened in 1897 and is a thriving village school which has about 150 children on roll. In 2011 the school's original Victorian buildings were remodelled and new classrooms built to the rear of the main school building to accommodate its growing community.


Double back on yourself and at Heathfields turn left where you head north





Heathfields was built on farmland, part of New Farm, in the mid 1980s.

Continue along Heathfields to





Pass through the gate and return to the churchyard. Exit  the churchyard through the Lychgate at





The churchyard

Walk east down Church Lane retracing your steps to





Turn left, heading north to Manor Lane





At this point you can either continue north returning to the Village Hall car park, or extend your walk to include public footpaths, which can be muddy.


Head west down Manor Lane to




Manor Lane used to be called Pig Lane and was originally 4m wide. It was widened when Corner House was built.


Chieveley Manor (which cannot be seen from Manor Lane) was previously Chieveley Farm. It has been extended over the years and is a Grade II listed building. The owners host the annual village fete and also open its gardens for a day or two each year as part of the National Gardens Scheme.


Then talk the footpath north for about ½- ¾  mile to




This is footpath number 10b and at its southern end follows an ancient winding hedge which existed in 1761.


Turn right at the footpath junction and continue into Bardown to head east to





At the junction with footpath number 11 there is a good view to the south and west.  Its name, New Road, probably means that this is an Enclosure Award road and about 200 years old.



Continue by following the tarmac road through Bardown, which accommodated about 50 houses originally owned by Sovereign Housing Association .  Most of the houses were demolished in 2007 and those remaining are privately owned.  The land is now owned by a company formed by local residents


At the main road head south returning to the Village Hall car park passing Pointers Close and

Middle Farm. Finally pass the tennis courts which are home to the village's active tennis club with a busy schedule of fixtures and coaching for juniors and adults.


Pointers Close, formerly Pointers Farm, was a chicken farm.   The houses were built in 1985.

Middle Farm was former farmland and the housing development built around 2000 succeeded in joining Chieveley with Downend Chieveley.

Homes at The Green, opposite the Village Hall, completed this increase in housing for the village.



MyChieveley - About Chieveley

Chieveley Parish Council Footpaths, Bridleways and Byways leaflet (2007)

Chieveley (Remembered), Bill Martin

The Days Gone by in Chieveley, Vera Pocock




The Post Office Directory 1894

Notes on the History of Chieveley (with Winterbourne, Oare and Curridge, also of Leckhampstead) by B H Bravery Attlee, Vicar of Chieveley, December 1919