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Hungerford is a market town and civil parish in Berkshire, England, 10 miles (16 km) west of Newbury. It covers an area of 5,372 acres (22 km2) and, according to the 2001 census, has a population of 5,700 (2006 estimated at 6,789).
Hungerford is on the River Dun in the Kennet Valley at grid reference SU337685. It is the westernmost town in Berkshire, situated on the border with Wiltshire, and lies within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The highest point in the entire South East England region is the 297 m (974 ft) summit of Walbury Hill, situated only 4 miles (7 km) from the town. The Kennet separates Hungerford from what might be described as the town's only suburb, the small hamlet of Eddington.
The town marks the border of the South East England and South West England regions (it is situated only 3 km within South East England), being some 68 miles (109 km) west of central London and 55 miles (88 km) east of Bristol on the A4 national trunk route. It is equidistant 10 miles (16 km) from the towns of Newbury and Marlborough, and lies 2.5 miles (4 km) south of junction 14 of the M4 motorway.
The parish was formerly divided into four tithings : Hungerford or Town, Sanden Fee, Eddington with Hidden and Newtown and Charnham Street. North and South Standen and Charnham Street were always officially detached parts of Wiltshire until transferred to Berkshire in 1895. Leverton and Calcot were transferred to Hungerford parish from Chilton Foliat in Wiltshire in 1895. All the land south of the Kennet was formerly included in Savernake Forest.
Hungerford is situated on several transport routes, of both historic and current importance, including the M4 motorway (junction 14), the Old Bath Road (A4), and the Kennet and Avon Canal (opened 1811). It also has a railway station, on the West of England Main Line; a reasonable rail service to Newbury, Reading and London means that the Hungerford has developed into something of a dormitory town which has been slowly expanding since the 1980s. Many residents commute to nearby towns such as Newbury, Swindon, Marlborough, Thatcham and Reading.
Hungerford is a civil parish, covering the town of Hungerford and a surrounding rural area, including the small village of Hungerford Newtown. The parish shares boundaries with the Berkshire parishes of Lambourn, East Garston, Great Shefford, Kintbury and Inkpen, and with the Wiltshire parishes of Shalbourne, Froxfield, Ramsbury and Chilton Foliat.
Parish council responsibilities are undertaken by Hungerford Town Council, which consists of fifteen volunteer councillors and committee members, supported by a full time clerk. The mayor is elected from amongst their numbers. The parish forms part of the district administered by the unitary authority of West Berkshire, and local government responsibilities are shared between the town council and unitary authority.
Hungerford is part of the Newbury parliamentary constituency. Its MP is the Conservative Richard Benyon, son of Sir William Benyon of Englefield House. He has represented the two towns since 2005.
Hungerford Archers is a longbow archery club based in Hungerford. Its shooting ground is the sports field of the John O'Gaunt Community Technology College.
Formerly called Hungerford Longbow Club, it was founded by the late Bob Maslin in 1995, and was renamed in 2005. The club originally used the Hungerford Town F.C. Field as its shooting ground, later moving to the larger field at the John O'Gaunt school.
Hungerford Archers is a longbow only club and does not permit the general use of compound bows or crossbows. The reason for this restriction is that more powerful compound can permanently damage targets, whereas longbows are unlikely to do so. Members are allowed to use recurve style bows if they wish.
Members meet on Sunday mornings and occasionally on Wednesday evenings in the summer, weather permitting. Practise consists of shooting at standard straw archery targets. These are typically placed at 30 yards for juniors and novice shooters, with additional targets placed at 50, 60 or 80 yards for members who are more experienced and have more powerful bows.
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