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The Berkshire
Berkshire
Downs are a range of chalk downland hills in southern England, part of the North Wessex Downs
North Wessex Downs
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Berkshire
Berkshire
Downs are wholly within the traditional county of Berkshire, although split between the current ceremonial counties of Berkshire
Berkshire
and Oxfordshire. The western parts of the downs are also known as the Lambourn
Lambourn
Downs.

Contents

1 Geography 2 History 3 Economy 4 Railway links 5 References

Geography[edit] The Berkshire
Berkshire
Downs run east–west, with their scarp slope facing north into the Vale of White Horse
Vale of White Horse
and their dip slope bounded by the course of the River Kennet. Geologically they are continuous with the Marlborough Downs
Marlborough Downs
to the west and the Chilterns
Chilterns
to the east. In the east they are divided from the Chilterns
Chilterns
by Goring Gap
Goring Gap
on the River Thames. In the west their boundary is generally taken to be the border between Berkshire
Berkshire
and Wiltshire, although the downs in Wiltshire between the Berkshire
Berkshire
border and the valley of the River Og
River Og
are sometimes considered to be part of the Berkshire
Berkshire
Downs. History[edit] English downland has attracted human habitation since prehistoric times. The ancient track known as the Ridgeway runs along the Berkshire
Berkshire
Downs. Prehistoric sites in the Downs include Wayland's Smithy (Neolithic), numerous tumuli (Neolithic or Bronze Age), Uffington White Horse
Uffington White Horse
(Bronze Age), Liddington Castle
Liddington Castle
and Uffington Castle (Bronze Age and Iron Age), and Segsbury Camp
Segsbury Camp
and Grim's Ditch (Iron Age).

The Ridgeway
The Ridgeway
( Uffington Castle
Uffington Castle
hillfort in distance on left)

It is generally thought that in Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
times the downs were known as Æscesdūn or Ashdown, and that it was here that the Battle of Ashdown was fought in 871.[1] Economy[edit] Downland
Downland
pasture is firm and well drained, suited to grazing sheep and grazing and training horses. Horse racing
Horse racing
is a major business in the area, with much of the downs covered with training areas, and stables centred on the village of Lambourn. Railway links[edit] The Berkshire
Berkshire
Downs can be accessed from various cities via the Great Western Main Line and its current single operator runs localised stopping trains as well as the high-speed trains along the Vale of White Horse calling at major stops Swindon and Didcot Parkway. From Reading to Newbury trains run along the Reading to Taunton Line
Reading to Taunton Line
in the River Kennet
River Kennet
Valley to reach Devon on the quickest route from London. From Reading there are the scenic Thames Valley stations of Pangbourne, Goring & Streatley and Cholsey (linked to the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway). References[edit]

^ Royal Berkshire
Berkshire
History website

Coordinates: 51°34′30″N 1°34′12″W / 51.575°N 1.570°W / 51

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