Sadly the Silks on the Downs has been closed since March with no plans to re-open. However the owner approached the community to see if we would be interested in buying the pub as a community asset.
The plan is to purchase and re-open the Silks, delivering everything for which it was famous. The opportunity we have goes well beyond the bricks and mortar of the pub. We will offer a wide range of additional services that will provide a valuable lifeline to the community, including space for clubs and societies, a social hub for those managing isolation and loneliness, and volunteering opportunities.
Our community share offer is now open and we'd be delighted if you visited our campaign site to find out more about what we are trying to do. Even better, become an owner of the pub.
We are lucky to live in a beautiful area of the countryside and there are some stunning walks in the area - for people of all abilities. The village of Ogbourne St Andrew itself is worth a quick stroll with its church dating from 1140AD and a long barrow burial mound in the graveyard. If you'd like to find out more about the church, our local history group has a lot more information on their site. Just turn left out of the pub, left at the war memorial and you can't go wrong.
However if you have an appetite for something longer, here are a few of our favourites. Most of these can be muddy in winter so wear appropriate footwear!
Please remember that we are in the middle of farming and horse racing country so please keep your dog under control.
The Railway Path
As it is along a converted railway line, as long as you want it to be (when you are half way to being tired, turn round)
Easy - flat, may be muddy in a few places in winter
Turn right out of the pub and walk along the main road until the houses on the opposite side end. You will see a gravel drive heading away from the main road. Cross over the main road and head up the track (its the only piece that isn't flat!). At the top, turn left or right depending on whether you want to head in Marlborough direction or Chiseldon direction. Come back the same way.
A loop onto the downs
Medium - some ascent, muddy and/or rutted in places
Leave the Silks on the Downs, turn left and then left again at the war memorial to head into the village of Ogbourne St Andrew. The road turns sharp right, continue following it and at the next junction turn left passing the church on your left. Walk along this quiet lane until it ends by a large barn.
Turn left in front of the barn and follow this track to a solitary large tree where the tracks starts climbing up onto the downs. Follows this right up to the top where a convenient bench waits. Keep an eye for Red Kites, Buzzards and deer - as well as racehorses. From there bear slightly left and walk keeping the gallops on your right. You will pass a small hedged graveyard on your left that is worth exploring.
This track will enter some trees and start heading downhill away from the gallops. Follow 'Green Lane' all the way to the bottom where you will enter the small hamlet of Ogbourne Maizey. Carry on onto the local road which then joins the main road after a short distance. Either turn left and walk along the road back to the Silks or preferably cross over the road and follow the track up, bearing left to reach the Railway Path. Turn left and walk along here until you reach some houses by a track heading back down to the main road. Follow this track down, cross over the main road and the pub is a few meters further along the road.
Circular via Barbury Castle
Medium, some ascent, muddy and/or rutted in places
Leave the Silks on the Downs, turn left and then left again at the war memorial to head into the village of Ogbourne St Andrew. The road turns right but instead carry on down a smaller lane between houses. Just before you reach the flagpole, turn left down a path between the backs of the houses and the stable. Go through a gate and it opens out into a field. Cross this, through a second gate and across a second field to a kissing gate in the hamlet of Ogbourne Maizey.
Turn right here and follow the road. When the road turns left carry straight on up the obvious track. Follow this all the way to the top where it will open out onto a set of gallops. Turn right and follow the track keeping the gallops on your left. You will shortly reach a junction with a bench and track descending. Ignore this and continue following the track which bears left. At the next junction of tracks bear right and follow this obvious track up to a large group of trees (Four Mile Clump).
The track continues beyond this with magnificent views. As the track turns to tarmac you will see a gate on your right signposted The Ridgeway.
An optional (but worthwhile) short detour here is to carry on along the track a short while where a gate on your left will take you into Barbury Castle Country Park where you can explore the Iron Age fort.
Turn sharp right through the gate following the sign for the Ridgeway and follow the wide grassy track down Smeathe's Ridge through a number of gates until eventually you will reach a country road. Turn right here and after about 20 meters, where the road turns left, continue straight on along a track, continuing to follow the signs for the Ridgeway.
Shortly the Ridgeway turns left and heads down to the main road though the small hamlet of Southend. Follow this, cross over the main road and follow the track until it is crossed by the Railway Path. Turn right here and follow the path until you see a stony track heading off on the right to the main road. Follow this down, cross over the road (be careful) and follow the lane back through the village. Keeping the church on your right, you will soon reach the point where you headed down the smaller lane towards the flagpole. Retrace your steps to the Silks.
Medium - sharp ascent and descents, muddy and/or rutted in places
Turn right out of the pub and walk along the main road until the houses on the opposite side end. You will see a gravel drive heading away from the main road. Cross over the main road and head up the track. Turn right at the top and walk along the old railway path until you go up a short hump over an old bridge. Turn left and ascend steeply up a rutted tree lined track. At the top the views open to your right. Continue along the track as it opens out on both sides and descends gently. At the end of the field, you reach a crossroads of tracks. Turn left here and follow this track up to the next junction. Turn left here and walk between two fields after which the track descends until it reaches the old railway line path. Turn left here and make your way back to the gravel path to the main road. Retrace your steps to the Silks onto Downs for a well earned drink.