East Garston, situated below the Downs in the Lambourn Valley, is a beautiful village of thatched and timber-framed, brick-infilled cottages. All Saints Church is outside the village, near Manor Farm. Built of flint and stone, it has Norman doorways and a Norman chapel on the east side.
There is a row of very attractive white-washed and black timbered cottages on the road leading to the church. Each cottage is approached by an individual bridge across the River Lambourn. As with the other villages in the Lambourn Valley, racehorses are often seen on their way to the Downs to be exercised.
Close by the church, is the Lambourn Valley Way footpath, which follows the route of the Newbury to Lambourn Railway. This branch line opened in 1898, was nationalised by British Rail in 1948, but closed to passengers in 1960. The line ran for twelve miles from Newbury and formed the northern boundary of the village. The station and platform were situated close to the church.
My Mother travelled on this line every summer throughout her childhood. She left London on the Great Western Railway, with her Mother and brothers and sister, to travel to Newbury, where she changed for the Lambourn Valley Branch Line. She travelled on this line through East Garston, to stay with her Grandmother in her cottage called, St. Michaels, in Newbury Street, Lambourn. She spent many happy times in and around East Garston, either walking or travelling by pony and trap.
When the line was closed, coal was no longer transported on the railway. The coal merchant, who was situated next to Lambourn Railway Station, needed to expand his yard and my Great Grandmother’s cottage was demolished. My Mother was very upset when she discovered this on a visit to Lambourn many years later.