An urban walk that takes in part of the River Kennet on the outskirts of Reading and returns to the town centre.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) Start outside Reading Minster Church on St Mary's Butts. With your back to the church, turn left and walk a few yards to the crossroads. Turn right on to Castle Street and walk uphill, past the police station, to a large roundabout. Using the crossings to go straight ahead and continue up Castle Hill. Turn right at the junction with Russell Street. Then, continue West along Tilehurst Road for about a mile.
(1) At the roundabout, with the English Martyrs Catholic Church on your left, cross over Liebenrood Road and enter Prospect Park. Head uphill across the grass and keep the car park on your right. Walk to the brow of the hill and keep straight on downhill through the park until you leave the park on Bath Road.
(2) Cross the road and take the little path straight ahead to join Circuit Lane. Follow this road to its end where you will see a metal gate across a track.
(3) Go through the gate and keep on this track, crossing the Holy Brook and going under the railway line, until you meet the River Kennet at Milkmaids Bridge.
(4) Cross the white railing footbridge and turn immediately left on the footpath. Follow this path, quickly turning a sharp right to cross the river, then a sharp left, until you cross a weir over the Kennet. Keep straight ahead with the canal on your left and the nature reserve on your right for about half a mile.
(5) Cross the bridge and then, right after the lock, turn left over a bridge across the river and immediately right between the buildings.
(6) Follow this path back towards Reading town centre always keeping the river close on your right hand side. As you approach the town centre, you will see the Oracle Shopping Centre ahead of you. Just before you reach this, turn left on Bridge Street to reach the start point of the walk on St Mary's Butts (D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 144ft - Reading Minster Church
1 : mi 1.43 - alt. 197ft - Prospect Park entrance
2 : mi 1.9 - alt. 180ft - Bath road
3 : mi 2.42 - alt. 138ft - Gate
4 : mi 2.74 - alt. 128ft - White railing footbridge
5 : mi 3.14 - alt. 128ft - Bridge
6 : mi 3.68 - alt. 125ft - Fobney Lock
D/A : mi 5.53 - alt. 144ft - Reading Minster Church
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
The walk passes through Prospect Park which is a pleasant urban park containing large model railway operated by the Reading Society of Model Engineers.
The walk also passes Fobney Island nature reserve. The river restoration works included restoring 300-400 metres of the River Kennet and introducing new river gravels to the channel to create ‘riffles’. The level of the island has been lowered to allow more flooding and the creation of pools, scrapes and reed-beds. The scheme includes two bird screens with views across the new wetlands. Information boards at the site entrance points provide information about the wetland and its wildlife. In 2012, the scrapes attracted a pair of Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing bred and a pair of Gadwall nested. A Barn Owl shared a box on the south side of the river with Mandarins and Kingfisher favour the “riffled” stretch of the river. The island has developed an increasing list of bird species, now over 100, and has been notable for visiting Garganey in the Spring.
This Oxforshire walk includes a pleasant section of walking along the Thames Path with a section across the rolling hills to the north of the river.
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Good parking at Henley-on-Thames station.
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Three hours circular walk with a slow climb to the heights, avoiding the steep climb on the Hambleden side.
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