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Best things about visiting and living in Woodley

PUBLISHED: 11:54 11 September 2014 | UPDATED: 11:54 11 September 2014

Young participants in the Woodley Carnival parade

Young participants in the Woodley Carnival parade

Archant

With its rich aviation history, vibrant shopping hub and good transport links, Woodley is a town that punches above its weight, says resident Jack Fowler

Just three miles east of Reading stands the town of Woodley – small in size but big on things to do.

The town’s name means ‘clearing in the wood’, and during the interwar period it became a well-known aviation centre, its aerodrome visited by some of the famous aviators of that era, including Douglas Bader, Charles Lindbergh and Amy Johnson, to name but three. Today that period in history is marked by the Museum of Berkshire Aviation, which is situated to the east of the town.

With a population of around 30,000, Woodley is a thriving community that enjoys a wide range of first class facilities – not least of which are the many acres of parkland for families to enjoy; with football, cricket, tennis, bowls and skate boarding for those with energy to burn. A visit to the local karting stadium, ski centre or indoor swimming pool is also a must for those looking for a different kind of leisure pursuit.

But perhaps the biggest attraction is the annual Woodley Carnival. Held in June, this community event is attended by hundreds of visitors each year. Decorated vehicles parade around the streets whilst the carnival itself is held in Woodford Park, with all kinds of amusements, fairground rides, a dog show, trade and charity stalls, special displays and demonstrations.

One of the most popular areas in Woodley is Southlake. This tranquil setting is the ideal spot to walk the dog, feed the ducks, or just chill out at the waters edge.

Southlake is also well known for fishing and the Southlake Angling Society is currently offering membership to new applicants for the 2014/2015 season.

When it comes to shopping, Woodley Town Centre has a wide range of shops, supermarkets, restaurants and coffee houses. There are numerous events held in the Centre throughout the year: a weekly Saturday market; a monthly farmers’ market; a twice-yearly Italian market; a classic car show; car boot sales twice a month; and a Winter Extravaganza at Christmas time.

Due to Woodley’s location (it’s just a short hop from the M4 motorway) housing is always in great demand, with the average three-bedroom semi currently selling for around £279,950.

So, if you are in the area, why not pay Woodley a visit? You won’t be disappointed.

Woodley’s markets

Farmers markets are held in the town centre on the third Wednesday of each month from 9am to 1.30pm, so the next ones are on 20 August and 17 September. You’ll find an excellent selection of high quality local produce including meat, fruit and veg, eggs, bread, pies, cheeses and preserves.

The weekly Saturday markets run from 9am to 4pm all the way through to December and feature many local traders. Goods on offer include food, plants, bird food, clothes and shoes, toys, sweets and crafts.

Producers or potential stallholders who would like more info on the markets should contact Town Centre Manager Jacques Lherbier, tel 0118 9216920 or 07506741591 or email towncentremanager@woodley.gov.uk

Jacques leads the WTCMI (Woodley Town Centre Management Initiative) a partnership between Woodley Town Council, Wokingham Borough Council and the Woodley Traders which aims to ensure the town centre is a great place to shop.

See www.woodleytowncentre.co.uk.

Events
On September 6 Reading Spring Garden Band will perform from 11am to 1pm and on Sunday, 7 September enjoy’ Italia in Piazza’ when an Italian Market is held from 9am to 4pm.

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