Guest House Hungerford

You might find this local information useful. Hungerford lies in the North Wessex Downs Area

about and arounf Hungerford Hungerford lies in the North Wessex Downs Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty in West Berkshire and is renowned for its natural surroundings. The area is ideal for country walks, cycling and riding.

The town's historic market status is retained by the significant number of small independent retail and commercial businesses providing visitors and residents alike with personal service across a wide range of products. Hungerford has an excellent variety of eating places and there is ample local accommodation.

The town today is surrounded by open common land, five minutes walk from its centre where visitors may enjoy a relaxed walk and an abundance of flora and fauna.

The John of Gaunt Inn in Bridge Street, one of Hungerford's excellent pubs, is owned by the Town and Manor. The story and biography of John of Gaunt which contains interesting information, facts & the history about the life of John of Gaunt. John was the third surviving son of the Plantagenet King Edward III. He was born to the most powerful dynasties in England. His brothers were Edward, the Black Prince, Lionel, the Duke of Clarence, the Edmund, Duke of York and Thomas the Duke of Gloucester. After the death of his elder brother, Edward, the Black Prince, John of Gaunt became increasingly powerful. John of Gaunt became the protector of his brother's young son, Richard II and effectively ruled England during his minority. His first marriage to Blanche of Lancaster was a happy one. His second marriage to Constance of Castile was quite the opposite. He took Katherine Swynford as his mistress and although their relationship was turbulent he married her when he was fifty-six years old. They had four children and were the ancestors of the Tudors.

The Church of St Lawrence - in Hungerford was built in 1816 to replace the earlier church, which had collapsed, and had stood, it is believed, on the same site for nearly 700 years.

The prosperity of the town was further enhanced by the opening of the Kennet and Avon Canal in 1810. Hungerford wharf brought valuable business to the town, but the opening of Brunel's Great Western Railway to Bristol in 1841 spelt disaster to the canal trade. Journeys that had taken more than a week by canal could now be accomplished in just a few hours. Both the canal trade and coaching traffic slumped. The railway came to Hungerford in 1847, and the line was later extended onwards to the west, but the expected prosperity failed to materialise, and the population actually fell between 1851 and 1901.

The Common - is about 200 acres of common land lying to the east of the town. Unlike London Commons it is not planted with ornamental trees, with sports grounds and play areas, all maintained by the local authority at the rate payers' expense. Nor is it like local country commons such as Snelsmore or Bucklebury or Crookham each with ancient Commoners Rights that may have been lost where the whole area has become overgrown, unmanageable and now home to scrub timber, gorse, brambles and home of the fly tippers. The Common Port Down is an example of what can be done when Common Rights have been preserved and exercised where cattle graze each year maintaining the permanent pasture and keeping the trees in shape.

Hungerford Marsh Nature Reserve is an idyllic riverside nature reserve in west Berks - a refuge for a rich array of wetland birds and wild flowers.

There are records of 120 different bird species including heron, kingfisher, little grebe, water rail and grasshopper warbler. River birds include mute swans, mallard, moorhen and coot. Grass snakes do well on this reserve.

The Kennet - One of England's Nicest Rivers The river Kennet is some thirty miles in length, though with all the side streams and carriers there is probably sixty miles of fishable waters. In my book, the Kennet is still one of the nicest rivers in England, though it's not the river of my youth, back in the 1940's 50's. Water abstraction, house building and industry are the main causes in the decline of this once magnificent river which flows in an easterly direction towards the urban town of Reading where it enters the river Thames.

The River starts life around Clatford not far from the Avebury stones, as we follow its journey towards the mighty river Thames we come to Marlborough, a delightful market town and best known for its fine shops and public school where apart from normal subjects, they also teach the art of dry fly fishing.