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Canal Boating Article: Hungerford


Visit Hungerford from the following marina(s)

Hilperton Marina

 

The name Hungerford is a Saxon name meaning "Hanging Wood by the Ford". Although there is a local legend which says "Hingwar the Dane" or Ivarr the Boneless" as was known was drowned in an accident when crossing the River Kennet and that the town was named after him.

 

Hungerford is an unspoilt market town lying within the North Wessex Downs in Berkshire. Despite there being two rivers flowing through Hungerford, The River Kennet and The River Dun, the main waterway in Hungerford is the Kennet and Avon Canal. At 57 miles long the canal between Newbury and Bath was opened in 1810 and linked London to the Bristol Channel.


Following competition from the Railways the canal fell into disrepair during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The canal was reopened by HM The Queen in 1990 and since obtaining a Heritage Lottery Fund has undergone many improvements and substantial restoration work.

 

Bear Inn - Dating back as far as the 15th century this coaching inn is one of the most historic buildings in the town. For a while, during the Glorious Revolution in 1688 William of Orange was one of it's most famous guests and it was here that he was offered the Crown of England.

 

Hungerford Common – The common consists of over 200 acres of open park land close to the edge of the town. The land has been used for grazing cattle for centuries and is still being used for that purpose today, This is why you will notice a cattle grid and 'Down Gate' at the edge of town to stop them wandering into town centre.

 

Tutti Day – Once widespread throughout Britain this ancient tradition dates back to Medieval times and Hungerford is now the only place in the country that still celebrates this festival. All of the commoners, who live on the High Street, must pay a tithe ( a rent or toll) to ensure their rights to fish, hunt and graze their cattle on the common. The Tutti-Men" or Tithe Men carry florally decorated poles are led through the streets by the "Orange-Man" to collect the tithe from the men and kisses from all the ladies.

 

Freesmans Marsh – A bird watchers dream and a Site of Special Scientific Interest the area consists of meadows, reed beds and marshland. It is a very import area for visiting migratory and breeding birds and is abundant in many species of flora and fauna which grow in these habitats. Given to the citizens of Hungerford by John O'Gaunt in 1343 the area is common land and has been used for grazing for centuries.

 

North Wessex Downs – Take a picnic and explore the unique landscape of the North Wessex Downs. Now designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty enjoy the fine views and unique landscape of these chalk downs. The downs are home to the world famous 'white horses' which are carved into the hillside , seven of these can be viewed within the North Wessex Downs.

 

The 'Hungerford Arcade' is a shoppers dream and a good place to have a wander and find yourself a bargain. Next to the Courtyard is a shopping area bursting with shops and places to eat and drink.


The town is well know for it's hospitality and there are a number of fine pubs offering good food and real ale.

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