Reading Circular River Walk
This circular walk takes in a number of waterways including the River Thames, the River Kennet and the Kennet and Avon Canal. You'll also visit the pretty Forbury Gardens, Reading Abbey and the historically significant Holy Brook.
The walk starts near the train station on Reading Bridge, with views of Caversham on the opposite side of the river. You then follow the Thames path east, passing King's Meadow Park and the large Tesco.
After about a mile you come to the River Kennet where you turn south west towards Blake's Lock. Next to the lock is the Riverside Museum which tells the story of Reading's two rivers. Exhibits include a gypsy caravan, a medieval mill wheel, turbine machinery, and seasonal art exhibits.
Shortly after you come to Highbridge Wharf where you cross the river and turn north to the Holy Brook. The brook is a channel of the River Kennet parts of which are thought to have been created in mediaeval times by the monks of Reading Abbey to supply water mills and fish ponds.
The brook takes you towards the ruins of Reading Abbey, founded by Henry I in 1121. You'll also pass the ruined former watermill of Abbey Mill on this section of the walk.
The route then meanders into the attractive Forbury Gardens. Here you will find pretty flower beds, an attractive fountain and the noteworthy Maiwand Lion. The statue was erected in 1886 to commemorate the loss of 286 soldiers at the Battle of Maiwand in Afghanistan in 1880.
Soon after the walk finishes back at Reading Bridge, near the train station.
It's easy to extend your riverside walking in the area by picking up the long distance Thames Path or the Kennet and Avon Canal Walk. Heading west along the Thames will take you to the attractive Mapledurham House and the town of Pangbourne.
Heading north east takes you to Sonning and Wargrave. At Sonning you could pay a visit to the 18th century flour mill which is notable as the UK's only dinner theatre.
Reading Circular River Walk Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Reading Circular River Walk Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Reading Circular River Walk OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Reading Circular River Walk Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
In Reading a visit to the beautiful Caversham Court Gardens is highly recommended. Here you'll find the delightful Tea Kiosk within the grounds. They have some delicious home made cakes and an outdoor seating area with views over the gardens and the river. The friendly little cafe also provides support for local charities so it's an ideal place to stop off for a rest and a bite to eat. You can find them at postcode RG4 7AG.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
On the northern outskirts of the town you can explore the attractive village of Caversham and visit the stunning Caversham Court Gardens. There's also a pretty little nature reserve to visit in the shape of Clayfield Copse. The site includes woodland paths, a sculpture trail and a wildflower meadow. It's a nice place for a peaceful, easy stroll in the town.
Head to the nearby town of Tadley and you could enjoy woodland trails around the expansive Pamber Forest before heading to the ancient Roman Fort at Silchester.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Berkshire Walks page.