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Reading Town, River and Canal

There are currently 2 comments and 2 photos online for this walk.

Reading Town, River and Canal
Author: Richard, Published: 03 Dec 2011 Walk Rating:star1 Reading Town, River and Canal Walking Guidestar1 Reading Town, River and Canal Walking Guidestar1 Reading Town, River and Canal Walking Guidestar1 Reading Town, River and Canal Walking Guidestar0 Reading Town, River and Canal Walking Guide
Berkshire, Reading
Walk Type: History trail
Reading Town, River and Canal
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Reading Town, River and Canal Walking Guide
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A 3 mile loop around Reading and its two rivers the Thames and Kennet. The walk takes in the Thames Path, former industrial areas and the historic grounds and ruins of Reading Abbey.

Reading is a large town built on the confluence of the River Thames and the River Kennet. It is also served by the Great Western Railway and the M4 Motorway. First evidence of settlement dates from the 8th Century although it became important in medieval times with the founding of Reading Abbey.

The walk follows a mixture of tarmac paths, grass tracks and towpaths. The walk is flat other than steps leading to and from the rivers, a long bridge over the Kennet Canal (suitable for people and horses!), and a small set of steps leading into Forbury Gardens at the end of the walk. Dogs should be kept under control along the route looking out for fishermen, cyclists, joggers and heavy road traffic in places. However, there is also the opportunity to visit two museums along the way that are not accessible for dogs. Approximate time 2 hours.

The walk starts outside of Reading Town Hall which now houses the Museum of Reading and is situated on Blagrave Street. There are several car parks near by including the Forbury Retail Park situated on Kenavon Drive, which is free and a short walk away. The postcode of the Town Hall is RG1 1QH

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Walk Sections

Town Hall to the River Thames
Town Hall to the River Thames

Start point: 51.4566 lat, -0.9704 long
End point: 51.4607 lat, -0.9678 long

Start by the Queen Victoria statue in Blagrave Street. With your back to the Town Hall which was completed in 1897, turn right and pass by the Tourist Information Centre and Museum. Cross Valpy street and then turn right into Forbury Road. Continue along the road until you reach the roundabout with the Rising Sun pub on your right. Turn left here and pass underneath the railway bridge. When you reach the pedestrian lights, cross the road and continue walking towards the river crossing Napier Road. When you reach the river bridge go down the steps onto the river path.

Along the Thames to the Boat Yard
Along the Thames to the Boat Yard

Start point: 51.4607 lat, -0.9678 long
End point: 51.4625 lat, -0.9591 long

Turn right walking away from the bridge heading downstream with the river on your left.

Continue to Caversham Lock, the original of which was built in 1778 into King’s Meadow. Running parallel to the lock is a weir and a footbridge over the river. Follow the Thames Path past the lock to the boat yard on the opposite side of the river.

Towards the Kennet Mouth
Towards the Kennet Mouth

Start point: 51.4625 lat, -0.9591 long
End point: 51.4592 lat, -0.9499 long

Continue along the Thames Path. There are some places here where dogs can swim but some of the banks are above deep water so please keep children and dogs under control. As you walk along the path you will pass by canal boats, derelict boats and luxury homes on the opposite bank

You will then come to Kennet Mouth with a waymark pointing along the Kennet Canal indicating the direction of Bristol.


Along the towpath to Blakes Lock
Along the towpath to Blakes Lock

Start point: 51.4592 lat, -0.9499 long
End point: 51.4561 lat, -0.9545 long

Turn right at the waymark along the bank and cross the Kennet via the Horseshoe Bridge which, is a timber-clad iron bridge constructed in 1891 to allow horses to cross the canal. Turn left and walk under Brunel’s railway bridge with the Kennet on your right. You are now entering one of the old industrial areas of Reading with the working remains of the gas works including a large gasometer on the opposite bank used for storing gas at night to meet the peak morning demand. This part of the canal has been in use since the 13th Century allowing goods to be taken to and from Reading Abbey.

As you continue along the canal towpath you will pass by new flats and two pubs that serve food with gardens to the front.

Onto Kings Road
Onto Kings Road

Start point: 51.4561 lat, -0.9545 long
End point: 51.4547 lat, -0.9606 long

Pass by Blake’s Lock next to which is a museum that tells the story of Reading’s two rivers. Go along the towpath past the weir and the flats overlooking both sides of the canal until you reach a bridge over the canal. Climb the steps here leaving the canal and join King’s Road. The River Kennet is often referred to as part of the navigable Kennet and Avon Canal running from the River Thames to Bristol and Bath.

Reading Gaol and Forbury Gardens
Reading Gaol and Forbury Gardens

Start point: 51.4547 lat, -0.9606 long
End point: 51.4569 lat, -0.9684 long

Turn right along Kings Road and follow the path round past the old Huntley and Palmers biscuit factory. Cross the road and turn right in front of the building called St James Wharf along the Forbury Road towards Reading Gaol. Turn left at Chestnut walk in front of the gaol which is most famous for housing Oscar Wilde who languished there for 18 months between 1895 and 1897. On his release from gaol he wrote the famous poem The Ballard of Reading Gaol.

Look for the gates with a silhouette of Wilde as you walk with a basin of the Kennet on your left. You will get your first glimpse of the ruins of Reading Abbey on your right.

Reading Abbey was founded by Henry I in 1121 who was buried in the grounds. The Abbey grew in importance and was visited by many kings including Henry III who visited several times a year. The abbey was largely destroyed in 1538 by Henry VIII and the abbot charged with treason and hung, drawn and quartered. Although in many areas only parts of the walls remain the Hospitium (1189) and Abbey Gateway have survived and been restored.

Follow the path to the right past some statues and look for some small steps straight ahead. Climb these and go through the small gardens with a large office block on your left. At the T-junction turn left towards the centre of Reading. Opposite Abbots Walk take the second set of gates on your right and enter Forbury Gardens which formed the outer court of Reading Abbey. Walk towards the large lion statue in front of you.

The Maiwand Lion is an iron sculpture within the Forbury Gardens and was named after the battle of Maiwand (Afghanistan) in 1886 where 329 men lost their lives. The fictional character Dr Watson was based on the medical officer of the regiment who was injured in the battle.

Going past the lion turn left and head towards the gates in the wall. Go through these gates across a small road and into a churchyard. Look to your left for a wooden plaque commemorating the death of Henry West who lost his life during a whirlwind at the Great Western Railway Station on 24 March 1840 aged 24 years.

Continue through the graveyard where you will find the Queen Victoria statue - the beginning of the walk.

Remember...the best way of following our walking guides is to use the iFootpath App (iOS and Android) where you will have all the information in the palm of your hand and see your exact location on the live map as you travel. You can also add comments, photos, ratings and track your own routes.

Check out these resources for your walk

hotels Hostel Directory GetMap Rail

network Reading Town, River and Canal Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2011 by the author Richard and may not be reproduced without permission.


2 comments for "Reading Town, River and Canal"

A lovely walk, which reveals a hidden Reading - a historical town and one with all kinds of waterways.

By thomasjellis on 26 Jun 2015

Nice walk, lived in Reading for 20+Years didn't realise you could walk so much riverside paths!

By ServeanSell on 22 Sep 2013

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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2 gallery images for "Reading Town, River and Canal"

425_0Richard1322937734 Reading Town, River and Canal Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 03 Dec 2011
Henry West memorial - killed in a whirlwind aged 24
425_0Richard1414699934 Reading Town, River and Canal Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 30 Oct 2014
Huntley & Palmers Biscuit Factory (Dinner Hour)
Valentine's - postcard"

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Introduction to iFootpath

iFootpath provides a mechanism to capture and share details of walks, but it is worth explaining the essential structure of a walk as they are stored in the iFootpath database. The basic concept is that a walk consists of any number of sections that are joined end to end. For each section we might want to describe views or other points of interest about that part of the walk.

The database that underpins iFootpath provides the mechanisms to store the structure and details of each walk, descriptions, photographs and mapping data for the overall walk and each section of it. It is not mandatory to enter information into every single field in the forms we provide, although some basic details are essential to ensure the walk database stays manageable and searcheable.

Each walk entered can be shared with all other iFootpath users, but before a walk (and its sections) are shared there are three stages it must go through. The first stage is as a "Draft". When a walk is in draft it is only visible and editable by you, the author of that walk. Whilst it is in draft form you can add sections, photographs, further description and refine it as you see fit. You can do as little or as much as you like. However, it is worth remembering that if someone (you) wants to print it off and take it as a walking guide, then it is worth taking the time to detail each section reasonably concisely. Long descriptions are generally distracting when walking and a short, concise version is usually much easier to use.

When you are happy with the walk description and its sections you can set the status to "Ready". This does not yet make it visible to everyone. It does, however, lock the editing (although you can change it back to draft and continue editing) and alerts the systems administrators that it requires reviewing prior to being "Published". When set to "Ready" the walk will be reviewed to check it contains the basic data needed and to ensure the content is clean. We do not allow content to include obscenities, swearing or other offensive language or pictures. This review does not check the walk for accuracy; whilst we would love to test each and every walk through walking we simply do not have the time. If we do find something wrong with the walk we will contact you and ask that it is fixed prior to marking it as "Published".

Once the walk is published it is now visible to any user of iFootpath and is therefore in the public domain given that anyone can register and access iFootpath. You are therefore responsible that any photographs used in your walk description are not infringing copyright. See our terms and conditions for further information on what we do and do not allow.

Published walks are available to all users of iFootpath and are listed in the walk browser to read or print and will be listed in the iPhone/iPod Touch application for download.

Walks in iFootpath

A walk in iFootpath is an introduction to the overall walk, identification of where it is and starts, some overview notes and general commentary.

Title (required)

A walk title should provide a brief indication of where or what the walk is. Walk titles do not have to be unique.

Description (required)

This provides a text area where you can describe the walk. Explain what you love about the walk, what makes it different and what people will see. In addition try to answer all the questions you might ask before going on a route. What sort of paths does the walk use? Any steep accents/descents? Are there any stiles? Are people likely to come across horse/cows/sheep?

County (required)

The county in which the walk starts is essential to help finding the walk in the database. Some walks may straddle more than one county - we suggest you select the county in which the walk starts or is mostly within.

Area (optional)

This field can be used, if you wish, to further identify where the walk is. This is particularly useful for large counties.

Walk Type (required)

To help quickly finding the right type of walk this provides a basic walk classification or type. Some walks may span two of these types - please use the type that fits the majority of the walk.

Length (required)

The length (in miles) of a walk is an approximation of the overall distance walked, not a measure of the distance "as the crow flies". iFootpath automatically completes this field based on the GPX file that has been uploaded.

Grade (required)

The grade of a walk is an indicator of how difficult it is to walk. This does not take into account the walk length but does suggest how challenging the walk will be. An easy walk, graded as 1 (and shown as 1 walking boot) indicates a walk that is essentially flat, has no sharp hills to climb, has no stiles or other obstacles, is easy to navigate (probably along a well worn path) and is suitable for most levels of fitness. Do be aware that the level of stamina required will vary and you should only walk within your limits - the indication of walk length will help with this. A difficult walk, graded as 5 (and represented by 5 boots) indicates a walk that is strenuous and involves steep ascents and/or descents. It may be technically challenging involving difficult terrain or obstacles.

Please note that the grading for walks is subjective and open to interpretation and should only be used as a guide when selecting a walk.

Map Ref / Start Point (optional)

The walk start point is an Ordnance Survey map reference to pinpoint the start point of the walk. This should be in the format:

AB 123 456

Further details of this system can be seen on the Ordnance Survey website.

Map Link (optional)

This optional field allows you to include a link to a web page containing a map showing the walk start. This is not the place to include any other links and the system will reject links to anything but Streetmap or Google Maps.

Start Point Co-ordinates (optional)

This pair of fields allows you to enter the longitude and latitude for the start point. iFootpath automatically completes this field based on the uploaded GPX file.

Key Image (required)

This is the main photograph used to illustrate the walk and can, if you wish, be the only photograph used of the walk. We recommend that you use a picture that characterises the walk, if possible, to show potential walkers what they might find or see. The picture must be in any of the main image formats (JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG) and image files up to 2Mb in size are permitted. Once an image is uploaded it will be resized automatically and a smaller version saved that is optimised for viewing on both this website and iFootpath Mobile.

There are many image editing and manipulation applications available, so many that we cannot make particular recommendations although almost all are excellent. Our preferred way of saving images for iFootpath is to save or export them at a maximum size of 1024x1024 pixels as a JPEG file. This creates a file that is well under 2Mb in size, contains plenty of detail and displays well in almost any browser. Please be sure that you own the copyright to any images uploaded - you must have taken them yourself or have explicit permission. If you are concerned about image theft then we also suggest you include a small watermark in any corner of the image, but please remember that large watermarks that hide the image will not be popular with viewers!

Pdf file

Pdf file for walk

Icon (recommended)

The icon is a small image, 60 pixels square, used to provide a label for the walk when displayed in lists or in iFootpath Mobile. It is recommended that a small, square image for such use is created and uploaded. This should be in JPEG, GIF, BMP or PNG format and less than 100Kb in size. If you do not provide an icon the walk will be automatically given a generic system icon. If you do upload a photograph for the walk icon its size will be checked by the system and it will automatically be resized to 60 pixels square. However, please also note that if the image is not square in format it may be cropped and you will not get the result you might have expected. Just thought you should know!

Getting There (required)

This provides a text area to explain how to get to the start of the walk. It is good to include a post code.

Preview

This function allows you to see how your published walk would look, before you submit as 'Ready' for review.

Status

When a walk is created and saved in iFootpath its status is automatically set to 'Draft'. This implies that you are still working on it and may want to come back later to add walk sections, images or other information. When you are ready for the walk to be shared with other iFootpath registered users then the status should be changed to 'Ready'. This will automatically notify the system that you want to share the walk. The system will check to ensure you have completed the required information and alert a reviewer. The reviewer will read through to check the content is clean and consistent with our terms of use. This does not check the accuracy of the walk details or any other information. If there are issues with the contents you will be contacted by email. The walk status will also be reset to 'Draft' in this case. More likely, however, that everything is fine in which case its status will be set to 'Published' at which point it becomes available for viewing and downloading by any registered user of iFootpath. This includes download to iFootpath Mobile.

Filters

Filters allow you to narrow down your search for walks of interest. By County restricts the list of walks to those in the selected County. The Filters links at the top of the list page allow you to jump quickly to the filters or to clear them.

Keyword Search

The Keyword search facility will search through the walk descriptions and notes to find words or phrases you specify.

My GPX Files

This page gives you the list of GPX files that you have uploaded from iFootpath mobile (or from other sources). You are able to view, edit, delete or download these files. Once you are happy with your GPX file you can 'convert to walk' to create a draft walk based on this data. This walk will appear under 'Manage My Walks'.

Manage My Walks

The list of walks presented are those you have written and entered into iFootpath. From here you can filter the list if you have lots to narrow down your search, list all or just those with a particular status. If you select a 'Published' or 'Ready' walk you will see a read-only version of your walk, although if 'Ready' you can reset status to 'Draft' again for further editing.

Walk Sections in iFootpath

Each walk section represents a particular piece of a walking route. The start and end of each section are defined by waypoints. Each section joins onto the next to form the complete walk. There is no limit to the number of sections a walk can have, but on a long walk we recommend breaking the route down into manageable pieces that are delineated by particular landmarks, turnings or changes in obvious route. Each section has its own photograph and descriptive text which should hold a photograph that illustrates the section and any instructions or other notes you want to add that may be of use in helping navigation or pointing things out.

Section Title (required)

The section title is used to provide a short name for the section. It is useful in section titles to provide an indication of the start and end, so using names of landmarks, roads, etc is a useful aid. Sections will be named automatically as the name of the waypoint at the end of that section. It is recommended that you rename the sections as something more useful to walkers.

Section Description (required)

This field is used to provide as much information as you wish about the walk section. This should include notes on navigation, even if obvious, and any further information you care to share about views, historical notes, things to look for, etc.

Key Image (recommended)

A picture can save many words and will often be very useful in helping to navigate or spot things along the route. The picture must be in any of the main image formats (JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG) and image files up to 2Mb in size are permitted. Once an image is uploaded it will be resized automatically and a smaller version saved that is optimised for viewing on both this website and iFootpath Mobile.

Our preferred way of saving images for iFootpath is to save or export them at a maximum size of 1024x1024 pixels as a JPEG file. Please be sure that you own the copyright to any images uploaded - you must have taken them yourself or have explicit permission.

Map Ref (optional)

This allows the OS Map reference for the start and end of the section to be entered. These should be in the format:

AB 123 456

Further details of this system can be seen on the Ordnance Survey website.

Start/End Point (optional)

This provides the facility to capture the co-ordinates for the start and end points of the walk section. iFootpath will automatically complete this field based on the GPX file used to create the walk.

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