The Whitley Pump

The view from Katesgrove Hill

Category: River Kennet (page 1 of 2)

Waterloo Meadows clean-up over the weekend of 12 October

The Katesgrove Community Association and the Friends of Waterloo Meadows will join together on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 October to clean litter from Waterloo Meadows.

Continue reading

Sustrans wants your opinion about removing the motorcycle barriers on the Kennet path

Peter Langridge (Sustrans community liaison officer) and Peter Challis (Sustrans network development manager)

From L to R: Stuart Langridge (Sustrans community liaison officer) and Peter Challis (Sustrans network development manager)

The sustainable transport charity Sustrans wants to improve the Kennet cycle and foot path between Reading town centre and Fobney Lock. Improvements could include the removal of motorcycle barriers as well as resurfacing and tidying up the path.

Continue reading

Two years on, what has changed on the scenic route to the Madejski Stadium?

Sustrans signpost on Waterloo Meadows

Reading were at home to Sheffield Wednesday for their first game of the 2018/19 season. It was a fine day, so we decided to see what had changed since 2017 on the scenic cross-country route from the Whitley Pump to the Madejski Stadium.

Continue reading

‘A Walk for Stanley’ by Peter Driver

The weir at Fobney Island

In July 2018, the multi-disciplinary artist Peter Driver set out on a three day pilgrimage from the Stanley Spencer Gallery in the village of Cookham to the Sandham Memorial Chapel at Burghclere. A Walk for Stanley is a travel diary that captures the journey in photos, sketches, woodcuts, sonnets and prose.

Continue reading

‘The Art of Trees’ at the Turbine House

The Turbine house at Blake’s Lock, part of Reading museum and next door to Bel and the Dragon, is worth a visit on its own; it’s a lovely spot and I could easily gaze out the windows at the waters of the Kennet flowing over the Borough weir.

Continue reading

Winter flocks on Coley meadows

A murmuration of starlings at Gretna. Photo: Walter Baxter via Wikimedia Commons

Flocks of birds are a phenomenon that have always intrigued me. Watching how different birds go about it has fascinated me all my life. There are those obscure little flocks of twittering tits that flit about the hedgerows in winter, and there are those massive and spectacular starling murmurations that fill the dusk skies with choreographed magic.

Continue reading

Interview with Tony Page, deputy leader of Reading Borough Council (part two)

Our interview with Tony Page continues with reflections on Reading, its waterways and the Abbey.

Continue reading

18 December – Death of William Blandy (1817)

The Kennet by Temple Place

We are grateful to the the ‘Reading Book of Days’ for informing us about the death of Alderman William Blandy on this day, 17 December, in 1817.

Continue reading

Volunteers needed for litter pick at Waterloo Meadows on Saturday 13 October

Volunteers are needed to help the Friends of Waterloo Meadows clean up the meadows on Saturday 13 October.

Continue reading

Walking stages 3 and 4 of the IDR

The ski jump at the end of the IDR in 1984. The Hook and Tackle is the on the left, painted white.

Having carved its way from Caversham Road to the foot of Southampton Street, in the 1970s Reading’s Inner Distribution Road (IDR) stopped abruptly at the ‘ski jump’ where the Oracle roundabout now is. During this hiatus, Reading consulted and debated about whether and how to continue.

Continue reading

Walking stage 2 of the IDR

Willow Street today

Stage 2 of Reading’s Inner Distribution Road (IDR) from Castle Hill to Southampton Street was under construction during 1969. After crossing Castle Hill, pedestrians can use a slipway down to Coley.

Continue reading

Introduction to “a walk around Reading’s IDR”

The IDR as it was intended to be built at the time that Stage I was under construction.

The Whitley Pump is leading a walk around Reading’s Inner Distribution Road (IDR) as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days in September. Reading’s post-war history, in which it transformed from a primarily industrial to a retail town, circle the IDR like the IDR circles the town centre.

Continue reading

Reading Riverside is taking shape fast


Here at the Whitley Pump, we have been keeping an eye on the development of the old Lok n’Store site, just over the Kennet in Minster ward.

Continue reading

A right Reading re-opening!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Reading Abbey’s much anticipated big day re-opening was well celebrated by visitors yesterday, 16 June. The formal cutting of the crimson and gold ribbons was undertaken by Reading Mayor, councillor Debs Edwards, and HM Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire James Puxley.

Continue reading

Whitethroats and I

Whitethroat. Photo: Nikola Middlemast

If you see me at this time of year, I am usually not walking very fast – I am scanning the fields and bushes on my regular walks looking for the common whitethroat. From spring and through the summer there are quite a few of them scattered around Reading, skulking in bushes or patches of bramble, and singing their curious scratchy little song.

Continue reading

1962 air crash wreckage found at Kennet Meadows

Coley Meadows (c) Adrian Lawson

I met the owner of part of Coley meadows many years ago, and he told me a fascinating tale of two aeroplanes colliding there. He described the area where he thought they had crashed, and for many years I kept my eyes open for any sign. When the Fobney Island nature reserve was being dug I had hoped to find some evidence, but there was none. I looked it up and found a news report; the crash happened on 4 November 1962. There was no detail on the actual location, so I asked a few of the more senior residents, but strangely nobody knew much.

Continue reading

Katesgrove’s bountiful river valley

Sadly, there are few good places on Katesgrove hill to enjoy the westward view. The steep west-facing scarp of Katesgrove hill is the edge of a river valley, and at the bottom flows the river Kennet. The river carved the valley into Reading before it became a canal, and used to run riot over a vast area of low lying land between Southcote and Whitley. The valley south and west of Katesgrove is a couple of miles wide, suddenly narrowing as it passes through two hills, Katesgrove and Coley. From the top of Katesgrove hill the view over the valley should be cherished, especially when the valley is full of floodwater and the sun sets beyond.

Continue reading

The scenic route from the Whitley Pump to the Madejski Stadium

There is an nearly traffic-free route from the Whitley Pump to the Madejski Stadium. It is a timeless and almost secret world of ancient paths beside rivers and streams and through the meadows of south Reading.

Continue reading

The Historic Katesgrove Industries Tour

Reading, from the South Hill 1882. reproduced from Illustrated London News.

The Historic Katesgrove Industries tour was available for the first time on 8 September 2017 during the Heritage Open Days weekend. The two hour walk started at the foot of London Street outside Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC) and, after a loop around Katesgrove, ended outside Great Expectations, next door to RISC.

Continue reading

The Life and death of Reading’s King, in the Oracle on the Kennet

Courtesy of the “Reading-on-Thames Festival“, which is sadly a misstatement when clearly Reading’s whole history is based on the River Kennet, came free culture in the form Reading Between the Lines Theatre Company’s play The Life and Death of Reading’s King. For the lucky 700 ticket holders on the night of 15 September this was a history making moment.

Continue reading

« Older posts

© 2019 The Whitley Pump

Hosted by SiteGroundTop ↑