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Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth

There are currently 8 comments and 4 photos online for this walk.

Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth
Author: Claire, Published: 06 Sep 2015 Walk Rating:star1 Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth Walking Guide star1 Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth Walking Guide star1 Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth Walking Guide star1 Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth Walking Guide star0 Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth Walking Guide
Berkshire, West Berkshire
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth Walking Guide boot Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth Walking Guide
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A 3 mile circular walk from Aldermaston Wharf in West Berkshire. The walk starts at the visitor centre on the Kennet and Avon Canal before joining rural tracks and paths across several waterways and fields to reach the adjacent village of Padworth with a beautiful church, imposing mansion house and old parkland. The return leg follows a pretty stretch of the River Kennet.

The walk is relatively flat with just a couple of very gentle slopes. The paths follow unmade tracks and grass paths across fields, parkland and alongside the river, all of which can be very muddy after rain and in the winter months. You will need to negotiate several gates, narrow footbridges and one stile (which is very low and also has open fence surrounds to allow dogs to pass through). You will be sharing a couple of the fields with horses and one field occasionally holds cattle, so take particular care with dogs. Allow 1.5 hours.

Aldermaston Wharf is located just off the A340, close to its junction with the A4 Bath Road. The walk starts and finishes from the Canal Visitor Centre pay and display car park, which is marked with brown tourism signs from the A4. The car park fee is £1 for 2 hours (correct Sept 2015) and the fee is payable at the adjacent tea room when this is open (Wed-Sun) and via the honesty box at other times. Approximate post code RG7 4JS. If this car park is full, there is alternative nearby parking - either free roadside parking on Station Road (the opposite side of the A340) or the pay and display car park for the rail station. If you are coming by train, Aldermaston rail station is just a 10 minute walk from the visitor centre.

Walk Sections

Start to River Kennet
Start to River Kennet

Start point: 51.4005 lat, -1.1348 long
End point: 51.3955 lat, -1.1302 long

Leave the rear of the car park to reach the towpath and turn right along this (with the canal on the left and passing the Visitor Centre and Tea Room on your right).

This section of the canal was once home to Aldermaston Wharf. The Kennet and Avon Canal was built to link London and Bristol and in its heyday, about 200 years ago, the wharf was a bustling trade centre transporting goods all over the world. Huge horse-drawn barges, carrying up to 100 tons at a time, loaded and offloaded an amazing range of goods including coal, grain, beer and timber products.

As you reach the road ahead, turn left over the bridge and then turn immediately left again into Mill Lane. Take the right-hand of the two stone tracks, passing the school on your left. The stone access track leads you between a number of houses and then on through a tunnel of trees.

Continue past the trout farm on your right and, immediately after this, turn right onto the signed public footpath which leads you between tall fences. At the end of this path you will come to a series of concrete footbridges over the River Kennet.

River Kennet to Stable Block
River Kennet to Stable Block

Start point: 51.3955 lat, -1.1302 long
End point: 51.3909 lat, -1.1214 long

Cross the bridges (taking particular care with children and dogs). The second bridge leads you over a weir and after this you will cross the salmon ladder, a narrow channel that bypasses the weir and allows salmon to travel upstream to their spawning grounds. Cross the third bridge over a sluice gate, continue along the narrow path and soon you are forced to swing left over the final concrete bridge.

Pass through the kissing gate ahead and follow the grass track between fenced fields. At the end of this stretch, a wooden footbridge and gate leads you into a large field (which occasionally holds cattle). A fingerpost here marks a crossroads of footpaths. Take the path across the field at about 11 o’clock, heading for the left-hand edge of the woodland. At the far side of the field, a gate and footbridge leads you over a stream and to the edge of a complex of large horse paddocks.

At this point you will have your first view of Padworth House, a manor house set high on the hillside ahead. Padworth House occupies the site of the manor house of the Coudrays, lords of the manor since the 1200s. These paddocks would once have formed part of the impressive estate grounds. The present house dates from the 1700s and today it is the home of an independent boarding college for 13-19 year olds.

Walk across the paddocks at about 11 o’clock, heading for the centre of the large red brick wall visible on the hillside ahead. As you reach the rough track in the centre of the field, you will find handles within the electric fence at this point allowing you to unhook the fence to pass through. Turn right along the rough stone track and follow it uphill towards the barns. (NOTE: if there is no way through the electric fence, simply bear right along the edge of paddock and exit via gates at the top instead). Continue up to the top of the hill, pass through the gate and continue on the track passing a large barn on the left and a cottage on the right. You will come to a stable block ahead.

Stable Block to Parkland
Stable Block to Parkland

Start point: 51.3909 lat, -1.1214 long
End point: 51.3929 lat, -1.1188 long

Immediately before the stable block, turn left onto the tarmac driveway and follow this as it swings right. Where the driveway bends right again, turn left onto the stone and grass track. The track leads you past the beautiful St John the Baptist Church (c.1130) on your left and on to reach the war memorial, also on your left.

At this point leave the stone track by taking the kissing gate into woodland ahead. Follow the woodland footpath ahead for a few yards and then swinging left to reach a tarmac driveway. If you look to your left you will be able to see the front of Padworth House. Cross over the drive and take the footpath (just a little to your right) which continues through the woodland ahead.

The path leads you along the left-hand edge of a beautiful pond which, it is thought, would once have supplied water for a moat around the manor house. At the end of the pond follow the path as it turns left. Keep ahead on this main path which meanders through the woodland, leads you past the right-hand edge of the college buildings and then out through a kissing gate to reach a large meadow, the remnants of the estate parkland.

Parkland to Riverside Path
Parkland to Riverside Path

Start point: 51.3929 lat, -1.1188 long
End point: 51.3994 lat, -1.1228 long

Walk ahead (at about 1 o’clock) for a few yards and then swing right to walk down the centre of an avenue of oak trees. NOTE: Take care on this stretch as the ground is fairly rutted beneath the grass. This avenue would once have formed an entrance drive for the manor house and if you glance behind, you will see the view of the mansion that would have greeted visitors.

The path leads you past a disused metal gate and then bears left to reach a pair of gates. Use the smaller gate to lead you out of the parkland and turn left along the stone access lane, heading downhill. Soon you will be able to see the old estate lodge, now a farm, ahead. Before the track reaches the lodge, it swings right to lead you out to a junction with the road.

Turn left along the edge of this country lane, taking care of any traffic, and follow it past Lodge Farm on your left. Cross the first bridge (over a stream) and continue past Fisherman’s Lodge on the left to reach the next bridge (over the River Kennet). Cross this bridge and immediately afterwards, turn left to join the signed riverside footpath.

Riverside Path to End
Riverside Path to End

Start point: 51.3994 lat, -1.1228 long
End point: 51.4007 lat, -1.1346 long

Go down the concrete steps, cross the low stile and walk ahead on the grass path with the River Kennet running across to the left. Across to the right you will see a series of lakes that are the remnants of gravel quarries, now reclaimed by nature. The whole of this area has high moisture content in the soil and you will notice that most of the trees are willows.

Eventually you will pass a property across to the left and then emerge out to a T-junction with a stone access track. Turn right along the track and fairly soon you will come to the footpath junction alongside the trout farm that you passed through on your outward leg.

From this point you will be retracing your steps back to the car park. To do this, continue ahead along the stone track and follow it all the way to the road junction at the end. Turn right across the bridge and then right again to join the towpath. After just a short distance you will come to the car park on the left where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2015 by iFootpath and the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

8 Comments for: "Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth"

Would be interested to hear from anyone who has done this walk recently how they got through the paddock? I could find no way round or through the electric fences?! Might be just me though as I am new to walking. Would love to try the walk again.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Sorry to hear you couldn't find your way through the electric fencing. There should be an access point, which normally includes a plastic insulated handle with a metal hook located at the end of one piece of fence. You can grab the handle, unhook the wire, walk through and then re-hook the fence into place behind you. Do an internet search for 'electric fence handle gates' to see pictures so that you know what to look for in future.

By marleysmates on 31 Oct 2018

A good little walk: varied elements, interesting buildings and a nice pint of West Berks Maharajah IPA at the Butt Inn towards the end. What’s not to like?!

By klsdoakj on 08 Oct 2018

Currently the kissing gate (3rd window) isn’t passable without wellies. Looks like cattle have been milling about, damaging the gate and the path.

By Mike J on 20 May 2018

Fabulous instructions! No break in the electric fence and be aware it can pack a nasty punch as my dog found out yesterday.Great walk though, loving the walks so close to home 😃

By MColes on 02 Apr 2018

I did this lovely walk a couple of weeks ago on a weekday and have a couple of updates:

The Visitor Centre is being totally refurbished and the car park was closed/full of builders vans. They directed me to the boat hire car park but understandably they said no parking. However, there is plenty of parking if you go back to the A340 turn left and immediately right (signposted to Aldermaston Station) just before the canal bridge. There is plenty of on road parking available (no charge) or the station car park (charges). Walking back to and crossing the A340 to turn right over the canal bridge joins the walk close to the start.

In the section River Kennet to Stable Block, the directions take you across the large paddock to a rough track. The landscape has changed slightly and there is no opening in the electric fence so I simply turned right and followed the fence up the hill to exit through two gates. This field did have several horses who took a lively interest in my dog (who was on the lead) which took a little bit of management!!

I would say that if there has been a lot of rain and the canal/river is high I strongly recommend keeping dogs on leads and children under very close control from turning right just after the trout farm to cross a series of concrete bridges over the river. When I went the water was absolutely racing and there are multiple points at which a child or dog could enter the water (which my dog was desperate to do!).

This said this is a lovely gentle, peaceful walk. The directions are spot on. Great views. Points of interest. Echo wellies essential in/after wet weather.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Many thanks for all these details, we really appreciate you taking the time to let us know. We have updated the guide and will keep an eye on the Aldermaston Tea Rooms Facebook page, so that we know once the car park and visitor centre re-opens (hopefully Easter).

By AJM0212 on 25 Feb 2018

Nice walk and very clear, concise instructions. Was pretty wet in places but were expecting that given recent weather.

By david3cole on 07 Jan 2017

Nice walk, with a great series of bridges through the weir, and nice views over the fields to Padworth House. For those of us who prefer to walk barefoot there is a range of surfaces from gravel to grass, and just in the corner of the field before the house there's a small stream that's great for a paddle. Some of the path along the Kennet is overgrown at the moment (June) and nettles are springing up so watch out if you have bare legs (and feet!). However the rest is relatively easy and pleasant but guess it could get muddy in wetter conditions.

By richarg on 06 Jun 2016

Most enjoyable, dog friendly, wellies recommended after wet weather. Five stars!

By Huelin on 15 Nov 2015

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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4 Gallery Images for: "Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth"

5004_0Richard1441567095 Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 06 Sep 2015
Time for a snap on the riverbank on the leg home.
5004_0Richard1441609834 Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 07 Sep 2015
The canal centre and team room - a lovely place to stop before or after your walk.
5004_0Huelin1447595729 Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth Walking Guide Image by: Huelin
Uploaded: 15 Nov 2015
5004_0emmafitz1458253706 Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth Walking Guide Image by: emmafitz
Uploaded: 17 Mar 2016



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