Donnington Castle is a ruined medieval castle, just north of Newbury, under the care of English Heritage. It’s perched on a hill overlooking the Lambourn Valley making the steep climb up worth every effort. It’s even been reported that both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I stayed here in the 15th century. So you’re in good company.
From 1644 the castle was attacked numerous times. Then in 1646 parliament voted to demolish the badly damaged castle leaving only the gatehouse standing. If you look around the slopes of the hill you can see some of the large defences built to protect it during the English Civil War.
When we visited Donnington Castle we extended our walk to include Snelsmore Common and its network of paths across beautiful heathland. If you plan on going on this walk I’d suggest going in August or September when the heather is in full flower. My other favourite time of the year to visit is in the spring when the oak woodland section of the walk is covered in bluebells. This makes a beautiful backdrop for family photos but please be careful not to tread on the bluebells as they’re a protected species.
This circular walk through Snelsmore common, the castle ruins and woodland is suitable for all ages. Although you may have difficulties with a pushchair in some of the woodland parts. View the full walk here.
There’s lots of other family friendly Berkshire walks on the blog, here are some of my other favourites:
- Wilder’s Folly and Sulham Woods 2.4 Mile Circular Walk
- Wargrave Chalk Pit 1.5 Mile Walk
- Simon’s Wood 1.3 Mile Walk at Finchampstead Ridges
Donnington Castle Map
Address: Donnington Castle Farm Cottage, Castle Lane, Donnington, Newbury RG14 2LE