What could be better than a linear walk and dine at a single destination pub? How about a 5-mile circular walk featuring not one but two pubs! This one explores the area around Dinton Pastures near Hurst: the country park; public footpaths; and local lanes of this oasis amidst the urban cacophony of Reading and Wokingham. The featured pubs are destinations in their own right with one of them holding a special interest for Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer…
Since we moved to Reading from Seattle our favorite walk and dine destination from home has taken us several times to the superbly run Fox & Hounds, a Wadworth house near Theale. Time after time it has consistently delivered our best pub food experience this side of Reading – especially when choosing from the chef’s specials board – read about it here.
This latest Fueled by Beer circular pub walk features another Wadworth house: the Wheelwrights Arms. And both walks have something in common besides Wadworth beer: Daryl & Katie Cooper.
For the past six years Daryl & Katie ran the Fox & Hounds – where we got to know them on first name terms – but they recently moved on to pastures new; the Wheelwrights Arms. They are now tucked away down a lane across from the entrance to Dinton Pastures, hence the title of this post.
The Wheelwrights is similar to the Fox & Hounds in many ways: an early 19th century traditional rural pub that has retained its rustic feel. A well run kitchen offering quality pub fare (menu is currently being revised). The usual well kept Wadworth ales plus, due to a couple more pumps, a wider range of guest ales. The Wheelwrights Arms has earned Cask Marque accreditation. What all this means is that with Daryl & Katie’s proven leadership applied to the preservation of a previously well-supported pub, the good people of Hurst should be in for a treat.
The other pub on this walk – The Castle Inn – has also been gaining attention recently, particularly as a foodie destination. The pub is located in the village centre across from the parish church St Nicholas Hurst and currently holds the #1 ranking among Hurst restaurants at Tripadvisor.
The 16th century grade II listed pub is owned by the church and is one of the village’s oldest buildings. Some parts of the structure may date back as far as the 10th century.
Besides being highly regarded for its food offer the Castle Inn is no slouch when it comes to real ale. The inn operates as a free house featuring local brewers – Binghams, Loddon and Vale during our visit. The pub’s focus on local breweries has earned it LocAle accreditation from the local CAMRA branch.
Being located roughly halfway around the walk the Castle Inn provides a welcome break for diners and drinkers alike. Start and end the walk at either pub; stop to eat at one, drink at the other; eat at neither, drink at both; other than bearing in mind pub opening hours there is no right or wrong way to do this walk. Parking is available at both locations.
There are quite a few public transit options to get to this walk. In no particular order they are:
- South West Trains Reading-London Waterloo service (to Winnersh Station, then 15 min walk to Wheelwrights Arms, trains every 30 mins)
- First Group #90 bus Reading-Wokingham-Bracknell service (to Winnersh Crossroads, then 20 min walk to Wheelwrights Arms, check times)
- Courtney Buses #128 Reading-Twyford-Wokingham service (to Dinton Pastures or Hurst centre – check times)
Once again we have our friends at iFootpath.com to thank for providing the original basis for this walk (details here). The Fueled by Beer version introduces the two pub scenario and the option to omit Dinton Pastures thereby reducing the walking distance from 5 miles to 4. You’re free to choose.
The following map shows our modified route highlighted in green. To complete the iFootpath route leave the green section and follow the route highlighted in orange, resuming the green route where the orange section ends.
Here are some photos from our walk (click to view gallery)…