Lardon Chase and Lough Down are on a spur of land overlooking Streatley and the Thames Valley, 12 miles to the east of Chieveley. Lardon Chase in particular is a lovely place to while away a few hours reading a book, walking the dogs or playing with the family.
At the top
From the car park at the top of Streatley hill enter Lardon Chase through the gate and walk along the hedgerow to find a spot to sit and admire the view over the villages of Streatley and Goring below.
Peer through the so-called Goring Gap to the south-east and in the distance you will be able to make out the Tilehurst water tower on the outskirts of Reading.
Follow the hedgerow around to the left and enter Lough Down which faces north east. From there the Thames is visible as it winds its way to Wallingford. Occasional Intercity trains can be spotted in the distance as they make their way across the South Oxfordhsire countryside.
Watch out for..
...The fearsome Wolf Spider which hunts on Lardon Chase, using its ten eyes (no kidding!) and venemous bite to locate and kill its prey. Fortunately it is too small to offer any threat to humans and is only occasionally seen in torchlight as the light reflects off those ten scary eyes.
...The steep path up from Streatley - perfect if you want a more active walk but not so good if you are after a more leisurely stroll or have small children and a buggy in tow!
Lardon Chase in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a rare example of chalk upland. Important wild flowers are plentiful, including orchids, as are butterflies. Green woodpeckers feed on the anthills in the grass and mining bees make their homes below ground.
Where to find it
Lardon Chase is a 20 minute, 11 mile drive from Chieveley along the B4009 to Streatley. Park in the car park on the left at the top of the hill before it descends into Streatley. Alternatively park down in Streatley and take the steep climbing footpath up from the village.