CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Berkshire Life today CLICK HERE

Berkshire walk around Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth

PUBLISHED: 15:30 26 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:43 26 January 2018

The Kennet and Avon Canal at Padworth Lock (96) on the way to Aldermaston Wharf © Steve Davison

The Kennet and Avon Canal at Padworth Lock (96) on the way to Aldermaston Wharf © Steve Davison

© Steve Davison

Steve Davison takes us alongside the peaceful Kennet and Avon Canal, before visiting Aldermaston Wharf and Padworth

The first leg of our walk this month follows the peaceful Kennet and Avon Canal west for slightly over two miles to arrive at Aldermaston Wharf.

At the height of ‘canal mania’ in the early 1800s, the Kennet and Avon Canal, which stretches across southern England from Reading to Bristol, formed a super-highway for the transportation of goods ranging from coal and timber to grain and stone, contributing to the late Georgian and early Victorian growth of the south. However, the widespread use of the canal lasted only a few decades before the arrival of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s much faster Great Western Railway.

Fortunately plans to completely abandon the canal were stopped by public opposition and it has since been fully restored. Now this wonderful canal, which celebrated its bicentenary in 2010, forms a multi-faceted jewel for boaters, walkers and wildlife, as it weaves its way through a patchwork of countryside.

The canal was formed when two existing waterways – the Kennet Navigation and the Avon Navigation – were joined by the construction of a 57 mile canal between Newbury and Bath. The Kennet Navigation, which ran from the River Thames at Reading to Newbury, opened in 1723 and Aldermaston Wharf dates from this time. The lock just across the main road was originally known as Brewhouse Lock because the Aldermaston Brewery – later known as Strange’s Brewery – was established hereabouts in 1770. The canal visitor centre and tea room is housed in a former canal workers cottage.

We leave the canal behind, soon crossing the River Kennet and then heading uphill towards Padworth and the little Norman Church of St John the Baptist; if it’s open, the church, which dates from 1130, is well worth a visit. Close by is the former manor house which now houses Padworth College (school).

The final leg of the walk meanders through fields and along tracks gently heading back towards the canal offering views across the Kennet Valley on the way.


• Start/finish: car park beside Tyle Mill Bridge (SU626692); leave the A4 at the Spring Inn and head south for 600m along Sulhamstead Hill road

• Map: OS Explorer 159

• Distance: 6 miles (9.6km)

• Terrain: some gates no stiles, gentle ups and downs, paths and tracks that can be muddy, and sections of road

• Time: 3 hours

• Refreshments: Aldermaston Wharf – The Butt Inn (0118 971 3309) and canal tea room

The walk

1 (SU626692) – From the car park turn left (west) along the towpath with the canal on the right. Go through a gate and continue through the field, following the path beside the combined canal and River Kennet. Exit through a gate and keep ahead to the lane. Turn right across two bridges and immediately turn left along the towpath, now with the canal on the left. Follow the towpath for slightly over a mile, passing Towney Bridge and lock (97) on the way. Cross a lane and continue along the towpath for further half a mile, passing Padworth Lock (96) and then the tea room on the right at Aldermaston Wharf (alternative start with parking) to reach the A340.

2 (SU601671) – Turn left across the canal, then immediately turn left onto Mill Lane (some 200m along the main road is The Butt Inn). Take the right-hand track, heading south-east for 600m towards Padworth Mill. Fork right just before the entrance to Mill House (footpath sign), following an enclosed path. Cross several footbridges over the River Kennet. Go through a gate and keep ahead between fences before crossing a footbridge and going through another gate to a four-way path junction in the field. Take the first left across the field to the far side, cross the footbridge to enter the next field and aim diagonally left up across the field, later following the left-hand fence up towards Home Farm.

3 (SU612661) – At the top, go through a gate and keep ahead (barn on left) before turning left along the tarmac drive for 75m as it swings right. Turn left along the enclosed path (footpath sign) to reach the war memorial with the church on the left. Turn right up the track, then left along the lane to a crossroads. Go straight across following School Lane and as it turns sharp right into Silver Lane keep ahead into the farmyard for a few metres to a signpost. Turn left between the large barns and follow the track, then turn right through a gate to enter a field. Head diagonally left down across the field passing under the power lines to exit via a gate in the lower corner beside Normoor Copse.

4 (SU619670) – Turn right along the track with Normoor Copse on right and keep ahead at a crossing track with Ashen Wood on the right. Go straight on to reach a lane at Middle Farm. Turn left down the lane for a third of a mile to a junction. Turn right for a few metres then left through a kissing gate to enter a field. Follow the field edge, go through a gate and continue along the field edge to the top right corner. Bear left down to the lower corner and then bear right into the next field. Continue through a kissing gate, follow the path through the trees and then alongside the high fence (right). Turn left along the lane for 400m back to the car park. 


Winter walks in Berkshire - When the weather gets colder, there’s not much more refreshing than a brisk walk across the countryside. Here are a few of those to enjoy in Berkshire


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Berkshire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Berkshire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Berkshire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 15:23

Heralded as the ‘Antonio Banderas’ of cooking by Gordon Ramsay, TV chef and author Omar Allibhoy is introducing a taste of authentic Spanish cooking to Windsor.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:10

We rounds up a selection of Berkshire pubs and restaurants perfect for a Sunday lunch

Read more
Yesterday, 14:08

With stunning grounds and luxe rooms, Mercure Newbury Elcot Park Hotel makes the perfect venue for a staycation

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Berkshire this month

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The time for family fun, frolics and theatre chaos is upon us. Here’s our round-up of Berkshire’s best pantomimes for 2018

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With the North Wessex Downs, Windsor’s Long Walk and a whole host of beautiful towns and villages, Berkshire is an amazing place for a stroll

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

When the weather gets colder, there’s not much more refreshing than a brisk walk across the countryside. Here are a few of those to enjoy in Berkshire

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

We set out to find the perfect Berkshire venues for Christmas dinner this year

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

With shopping, fairs, markets and plenty of food and drink, we’ve rounded up some of the best festive offerings in Berkshire

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Long Walk in Windsor has got to be one of the most iconic views in our county, if not the country. Here’s why a visit to Windsor Great Park is a must at this time of year

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Do something different this Christmas by signing up for the December Daily Dash – a commitment to run, walk or jog three miles every single day throughout December!

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Royalty, independent shops, a buzzing arts scene and some great places to eat out, it’s easy to see why everyone loves Windsor

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Steve Davison heads to West Ilsley for a dog (and horse) friendly five and a half mile journey over the North Wessex Downs, which can be adapted for cyclists or walkers

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

We find out about a fabulous new destination overseen by food and hospitality ‘godfathers’, the marvellous Michel and Alain Roux

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Berkshire Life weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search