Lambourn is well known as "The Valley of The Racehorse".
The area nestles in the valley of the Lambourn River and in the heart of the chalk Berkshire Downs.
Lambourn is a working village based on an industry which has made it famous in England and indeed the world: The training of racehorses.
The springy downland grass provides an ideal base for the many training gallops which extend around the village and every day strings of horses head towards the gallops to be schooled to be the next winner at race meetings such as Cheltenham, Aintree, Ascot and many more.
There is a good selection of pubs and shops, including a butcher, chemist, dentist and doctor’s surgery.
Several award-winning pubs and restaurants are also within easy reach, with a broader selection at nearby Wantage, eight miles away.
Hungerford, lying nine miles south, is a charming town renowned for its eclectic antiques scene.
The Hungerford Arcade, Below Stairs and Roger King Antiques are treasure troves for the eagle-eyed.
The town is also home to an array of independent shops and cafes, including the French delicatessen, The Funghi Club, Eliane, a café serving an array of fresh salads and soulful food, and the cavernous Hungerford Bookshop.
There is also a much-loved leisure centre with a 25m swimming pool.
The Lambourn Valley is part of the North Wessex Downs AONB, with extensive walking routes and bridle paths.
Further afield and leading from the east side of Hungerford, a canal runs out towards Hungerford Marsh, a wonderful nature reserve enlivened by the crystal-clear chalk waters of the River Dunn.
Here, a short walk over the marsh leads to Cobbs Farm Shop, a popular spot for coffee and lunch and a terrific pick-your-own destination.
Transport links are very good, with rail links at Hungerford, Newbury, Swindon and Didcot.
Direct services run from Hungerford to London Paddington in approximately 60 minutes.
The M4 Junction is around four miles to the south, and London Heathrow airport is under an hour by car.
AMENITIES & FACILITIES
Lambourn and the surrounding area has many leisure activities to offer ranging from a wide variety of clubs and societies to activities such as walking and horse riding. It has a memorial hall for hire.
The Lambourn Centre opened in 1993 as a purpose built community facility, the Centre is situated in the heart of the village of Lambourn.The Lambourn Centre provides a range of sport and leisure activities for the community of Lambourn and beyond. The Centre has developed an extensive and diverse programme that meets the needs of the local population and is home to local voluntary groups and organisations as well as our popular Valley Under 5s Toddler Group. In addition to the activities provided, we are also able to boast an excellent fitness /gym facility. Expressions Fitness is equipped with the latest cardio-vascular and resistance training machines.
It has a fully equipped meeting room for all business needs. Ideal for holding meetings or training courses, this room is also the home of Lambourn Racehorse Trainers ‘Hall of Fame’. It has an Allotment Cociety, Lambourn Chimers, Brownies, Horticultural Society, Camera Club, Ju Jitsu, WI and The Royal British Legion
FOOD & DRINK
Spice Valley specialise in Indian Cuisine. At the Nippy Chippy & Little India you can benefit from a superb selection of traditional British fish and chips and Indian cuisine.
The George is a bustling pub right in the heart of Lambourn, the racing capital of Britain, with its plethora of top class stables right on the doorstep. It is small wonder that The George often boasts some of the top names in racing among its customers. Open and busy 7 days a week, The George is the only pub in Lambourn which serves food, as well as a popular week long breakfast, lunch and dinner trade , Sunday Lunch is a firm favourite here locally. The George prides itself on great pub food at an affordable price.
The Wheelwright’s Arm’s serves traditional real ales and Spice Valley has a large choice of Indian Curries, Asian Dishes, Tandoori for take-away or home delivery.
The main sport in Lambourn is Horse Racing. There is also a Riffle Shooting Club, Lambourn Sports Club with a large sports ground for football, tennis, cricket and bowls. It has air riffles, a billiards room, family room and members room.There is karate, the Old Berkshire Hunt Pony Club and the Vine and Craven Hunt.
Lambourn C of E Primary School is a flourishing school supported by good quality teaching and support staff which results in good learning outcomes. They want children to enjoy school, be motivated and have a desire to learn and improve. In addition, they also want children to be proud of their achievements.
There is a village website, the local radio station is Radio Kennet.
Saint Micheal’s & All Angels is part of the Lambourn Valley Benefice. There is a Campanology group of bellringers.
There is also a Conservation Trust Church at Woodlands St. Mary’s.
There is also Lambourn Methodist Chapel.
There is a Lambourn Conservation Group
“Preserving the Heritage for the people of The Valley of the Racehorse, it’s natural beauty & character”
The local Doctor’s Surgery is the Lambourn Surgery.
There is a bus services – one to Newbury and one to Swindon.
Sheepdrove Organic Farm and Eco Centre is a stunning event venue. A model of responsible farming. The farm is located in the beautiful countryside of Lambourn in Berkshire. It is owned by Peter and Juliet Kindersley and is a model of environmentally responsible farming driven by passion and concern for the community, environment and animal welfare. With a working farm, nine double bedrooms, services from experienced external caterers, environmentally friendly conference facilities and beautiful woodland areas, our farm is the ideal wedding venue or scenic location for organising special events. Visit our farm to hold your wedding, family holidays, corporate outings and more. It is dedicated to helping the community balance conservation with progress. The farm and London shop specialise in providing organic food products for all our customers. there is also a woodland burial site for natural, environmentally friendly burials.
LAMBOURN | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | HISTORY
Lambourn and the Downs have a history going back six millennia. For the first 4000 years, from about 3600BC, the Downs were heavily populated but there is little evidence of settlement in what is now the village. Settlement in the village started in the Late Roman and Early Saxon periods, around 400AD. At the same time time the Downs became depopulated; something fundamental changed.
Those first four millennia cover the Neolithic, when farming first arrived from the Middle East, but before metal working was known and tools were made from flint; the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and the height of the Imperial Roman period. From these periods we may find, on the Downs north of the village, Neolithic long barrows (burial mounds), such as Wayland’s Smithy, and from the Early Bronze age the round barrow burial mounds, where only those of high status were buried. At Seven Barrows there are in fact around 40 barrows, and many more are everywhere on the Downs. From Crow Down, just outside the village, we have a spectacular hoard of gold torcs made with Irish gold. In the Iron Age, perhaps a more violent time, there were a string of Hill Forts along the Ridgeway and one nearer the village at Ashdown House. After the Roman conquest, the Downs became a part of the bread-basket of the Empire, feeding the army, and there was an arc of four villas on the slopes of the Downs above Lambourn, built with the wealth coming from the land.
Why were the Downs so rich? After the last ice age, the Downs were left with a layer, typically 40cm deep, of periglacial loess soil (also known as brickearth). This is wind-blown dried glacial mud, left behind by the glaciers which stopped just north of the Downs. It is a very fine and very fertile soil, but which starts blowing away as soon as it is ploughed. This was the basis of the Downs’ ancient great wealth and large population. Cultivation ceased piecemeal over a long period; thin coverings in exposed and heavily cultivated areas were exhausted by the middle of the Roman period, whilst some sheltered areas with thick drifts of loess were ploughed into the Medieval before abandonment. However, the evidence suggests that the population on the Downs collapsed around the end of the Imperial Roman period and never recovered.
Ancient Lambourn was also well-connected. In the prehistoric, the Ridgeway was a major trade route across Britain. Later, what is now the A338 from Frilford to Wantage was a Roman road which originally continued over the Downs and closely past Lambourn (through Bockhampton) to link with other major roads. The Lambourn Downs were very much on the map.
The history of Lambourn itself begins around 400AD; whilst the villas on the exhausted Downs were abandoned, a Romano-British villa was built somewhere in Oxford Street, near Oaksey House, where a very early Saxon settlement also began. Possibly the villa was a strong point against the encroachments of the Saxon settlers, defended by mercenary Saxon bodyguards. If so, at some point the Saxon bodyguards simply took possession of the land for themselves. In the Middle and Later Saxon periods, the 8th-11th Centuries, Lambourn became a significant Christian religious centre, with royal ownership and patronage. This was perhaps Lambourn’s finest period.
Christianity arrived for the second time in England around 650AD (Christianity had previously been the official religion in the Late Roman period), and by the 8thC it was again the established religion. At this time there were no parishes, each with its church and priest; that was the later Medieval system. Instead there were minsters: loose communities of monks, nuns and several priests, living in a protective enclosure, who served a large area now typically divided up into many parishes. Lambourn was one such minster, and the oval area now enclosing the church, bounded by Big Lane, the Broadway, Oxford Street and Parsonage Lane, was the minster enclosure. Big Lane runs in the in-filled ditch, and the remnants of the defensive bank can be seen on the side towards the church. The west end of Three Post Lane passes through the remnants of the rampart and west gate. To the south and east, the circuit of rampart and ditch are now levelled by the Medieval reorganization of the town. The village was owned by Alfred the Great and later Cnut (King Canute).
After the Norman conquest, Lambourn was given to a supporter of the Normans; around 1150, a new Medieval planned town with a new Norman style church was built; this history was still very clear in the street plan a hundred years ago, and still visible now despite becoming buried in modern development.