Theme Week Berkshire – Lambourn

Saturday, 25 March 2023 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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Ashdown House in Upper Lambourn © geograph.org.uk - David McManamon/cc-by-sa-2.0

Ashdown House in Upper Lambourn © geograph.org.uk – David McManamon/cc-by-sa-2.0

Lambourn is a village and civil parish in Berkshire, England. It lies just north of the M4 Motorway between Swindon and Newbury, and borders Wiltshire to the west and Oxfordshire to the north. After Newmarket it is the largest centre of racehorse training in England, and is home to a rehabilitation centre for injured jockeys, an equine hospital, and several leading jockeys and trainers. To the north of the village are the prehistoric Seven Barrows and the nearby long barrow. In 2004 the Crow Down Hoard was found close to the village.

Lambourn covers most of the upper valley of the River Lambourn, a bourne in the chalk upland area of the Berkshire Downs. It is 13 miles (21 km) northwest of Newbury, 11 miles (18 km) southeast of Swindon, 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Wantage, 7 miles (11 km) north of Hungerford and 71 miles (114 km) west of London (via B4000 and M4). Since the 1974 boundary changes, Lambourn has been the westernmost parish in Berkshire, bordering northeastern Wiltshire and southwestern Oxfordshire. Membury Services, on the site of RAF Membury, Membury transmitting station and the northeastern quarter of Membury Iron Age hillfort are in the southwest corner of the parish.

They heard of the Great Barrows, and the green mounds, and the stone-rings upon the hills and in the hollows among the hills. Sheep were bleating in flocks. Green walls and white walls rose. There were fortresses on the heights. Kings of little kingdoms fought together, and the young Sun shone like fire on the red metal of their new and greedy swords. There was victory and defeat; and towers fell, fortresses were burned, and flames went up into the sky. Gold was piled on the biers of dead kings and queens; and mounds covered them, and the stone doors were shut; and the grass grew over all. Sheep walked for a while biting the grass, but soon the hills were empty again.
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

The Lambourn Downs (an area of the Berkshire Downs) are part of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and cover an area of 231 square miles (600 km²), from the Ridgeway in the north to the River Kennet in the south. Originally they were entirely in Berkshire, but northern third of the downs were transferred to Oxfordshire when the county border was reorganised in 1974. Due to the poor, chalky soil, the downs could not be used for growing crops until the advent of modern fertilisers. Consequently, the high ground was only used for breeding sheep – hence the name of Lambourn – and horses. The Oxford don and author J. R. R. Tolkien lived nearby and travelled to the downs with his family and friends. He was impressed by the downs with their sarsen stones, barrows and hill forts and painted pictures of Lambourn in 1912. Within Lambourn parish are the following downs and chalk hills: Bockhampton Down, Cleeve Hill, Coppington Down, Coppington Hill, Crow Down, Eastbury Down, Ewe Hill, Farncombe Down, Fognam Down, Haycroft Hill, Hungerford Hill, Kingsdown, Lodge Down, Mandown, Near Down, Parkfarm Down, Pit Down, Post Down, Row Down, Stancombe Down, Thorn Hill, Warren Down and Wellbottom Down.

Barn to south east of Stable House © Flickrway/cc-by-sa-4.0 Bockhampton Manor in Upper Lambourn © geograph.org.uk - Andrew Smith/cc-by-sa-2.0 High Street © geograph.org.uk - Des Blenkinsopp/cc-by-sa-2.0 St Michael and All Angel church © geograph.org.uk - Pam Brophy/cc-by-sa-2.0 The Lamb © geograph.org.uk - Des Blenkinsopp/cc-by-sa-2.0 Ashdown House in Upper Lambourn © geograph.org.uk - David McManamon/cc-by-sa-2.0 Cottage © geograph.org.uk - Oswald Bertram/cc-by-sa-2.0 Almshouses © geograph.org.uk - nick macneill/cc-by-sa-2.0
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Bockhampton Manor in Upper Lambourn © geograph.org.uk - Andrew Smith/cc-by-sa-2.0
Lambourn and the surrounding downland is best known today as a major horse racing centre, mainly National Hunt. Many villagers’ work is related to horse racing, but there are an increasing number of commuters who use the M4, including many airline pilots based at Heathrow. The United Kingdom’s last makers of dress and day cravats were based in Lambourn until they closed in 2006. Lambourn Racehorse Transport was founded in the village in 1930 and transports many of the local horses, especially since the closure of the Lambourn Valley Railway in 1964. It is owned by Merrick Francis, the son of Dick Francis, and is the largest horse transport business in Europe. Sheepdrove Organic Farm is based near Lambourn.

Lambourn is a unique town as almost everyone is involved in horse racing – from top trainers such as Mick Channon, Charlie Mann and Henrietta Knight through to the saddlers and stable lads and lasses.
Clare Balding

The racing connection began in the 18th century, when the Earl of Craven held racing meetings on Weathercock Hill near Ashdown House. There were regular race meetings on the Lambourn Downs and private race meetings can be held on Mandown between Upper Lambourn and Seven Barrows. In the 1840s some owners moved their racehorses to Lambourn as the ground at Newmarket was too firm and caused many horses to break down. The first trainers were Edwin Parr, Joseph Saxon, John Prince, Luke Snowden (one of the few trainers to be buried at St Michaels graveyard) and John Drinkald, who went insane when his horse was disqualified after winning a race in which he stood to win £28,000. The first stables were at the Red Lion Inn on the crossroads opposite the church, the inn has since been converted into flats, and at Lambourn Stables, now called Kingswood House Stables. The well drained, spongy grass, open downs and long flats made Lambourn ideal for training racehorses and it became a fashionable training centre. Lord Rothschild has his stables at Russley Park in Wiltshire and, like those of Lord Craven, his horses practised on the gallops at Lambourn. Lambourn Place, a large house near the village centre, was used as racing stables from 1888. It was demolished in 1938 and was later replaced by a modern housing estate. However, it was not until the Lambourn Valley Railway was built in 1898 that Lambourn grew into its present size. Until then horses could only attend local meets, or had to walk the 10–15 miles to the railway at Newbury. Horses could now be transported to Newbury and from there to meetings all over the country and many new stables were opened in the area. Over 1,500 horses are now stabled in and around Lambourn – second only to Newmarket. There are many major stables and varied turf and all-weather gallops in and around the village. It has two fully licensed equine swimming pools and the Ridgeway Veterinary Group Valley Equine Hospital. As a result, it has been dubbed the “Valley of the Racehorse“, and this is displayed on the road signs leading into the village. In 2006 the Jockey Club Estates Ltd bought 500 acres (2.0 km²) of land in the valley, its first investment outside Newmarket, including Mandown and many other gallops and training grounds The Oaksey House rehabilitation centre for injured jockeys was built in Lambourn in 2008, named after Lord Oaksey, the President of the Injured Jockeys Fund. In 2013, Mehmet Kurt, the owner of the Kingwood Stud in Lambourn, received permission to build a 1.5 km (0.93 mi) long horse training monorail, the first in the country.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Lambourn, VisitSouthEastEngland.com – Lambourn and Wikipedia Lambourn. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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