British Walking Federation



CONTACT: Peter Tilbury, 116 Wykeham Road, Reading, Berkshire RG6 1PL
Tel: 0118 966 6523   Email:

ENTRY FEE: £1.00 per walker Cheques made payable to Thames Valley Walking Club)
AWARD: Cloth badge at £2.00 each
START VENUE: Riverside Car Park, Caversham Bridge, Reading (Map 175,GR SU710747)
DIRECTIONS TO START: Follow signs towards Caversham. Before crossing Caversham Bridge, turn left at roundabout by ‘Crowne Plaza Hotel, and then turn right into car park. The walk can also be started at Reading train station at point marked (**) after question 1.
CAR PARKING: At start venue. (Very full on weekdays) There are also several car parks located around the town centre & station areas.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Bus and train service within 1km of start
TERRAIN: Urban areas, minor roads, parkland, riverside and canal paths. Suitable for pushchairs.
REFRESHMENTS: Can be purchased at various places on the route.

ROUTE DESCRIPTION (Updated 2nd May 2016)

Leave car park & turn right on riverside footpath. Go under bridge & go ahead on riverside footpath with river on left. After approx 300m, pass Thames Avenue and continue ahead on riverside footpath to reach next road on the right by 'Isis Court'.

Q.1 Looking across the river, what is the name of the boating business on the island?

Turn right on road passing ‘Isis Court’ on your left. At end of road go ahead to cross dual carriageway using pedestrian crossing. Turn right & at roundabout turn left, passing ‘TGI Fridays’ on left. Follow road passing Fire Station on right and go under railway bridge. Take next road on left towards the railway station. Follow road & at end, go ahead up steps beside station entrance to reach ‘The Three Guineas PH’ (**).  Bear right to roundabout, then turn left. At Heathrow Railair Coach Stop & Lounge, turn right to cross road. Turn left, then turn right into Blagrave Street.

At road junction, go straight ahead (passing Museum on left) to reach statue of Queen Victoria outside Town Hall. Turn right into Friar Street, passing ‘Yates’ on right and Reading County Court on left. Go ahead, crossing Station Road on right, and continue along Friar Street for a further 80 m before turning left into narrow walkway called Union Street (locally known as "Smelly Alley" due to number of fish and butchers shops which used to trade from here). Continue to end and turn right into pedestrian area called Broad Street.

At road junction by ‘Broad St. Mall’, go straight ahead on left hand side of road & immediately after passing ‘Argos’, turn left through bollards passing ‘Pentahotel’ on right and head towards a red “Hexagon” post sign in the distance at the end of the walkway. At ‘Hexagon’, turn left & follow walkway, then road heading towards church to reach t-junction. Turn right (Note the memorial on your left, on island in middle of road to Queen Victoria to commemorate her 50th year of reign in 1887).

Q.2 On your right is a sign attached to the top of the building for 'Reading Market' - What year was the market established?

Follow road for approx. 50m to reach traffic lights by ‘The Horn PH’. Turn right into Castle Street and pass ‘Sun Inn’ on right. At mini roundabout go ahead, passing lane of Alms Houses on left (opposite Police Station) & continue to roundabout. Turn left down slope. Go under footbridge & bear left on road. Turn right into New Bright Street & follow to reach ‘Asantewa House’ (crossing the last remnant of Reading’s tram lines). Continue to follow road to reach t-junction by ‘House of Fraser’. Turn right, cross river & immediately turn left to cross road using traffic island. Go ahead onto the ‘Oracle’ riverside footpath with river on left.

(NB - No dogs are allowed through the ’Oracle’ but this can be by-passed by turning right and walking towards the flyover. At traffic lights before flyover, bear left and walk along side of road on cycle/footpath underneath the car park to reach next major road junction. Go ahead to cross road and turn right to cross dual carriageway. Go ahead on road known as London Street passing “Great Expectations” hotel & bar’ on leftto rejoin route at * below.)

Follow riverside footpath through pedestrian area with river left to reach junction with road. Go ahead, crossing road to reach pedestrian crossing. Go ahead to cross road using pedestrian crossing & turn right. Cross slip road and at road junction, go straight ahead to cross dual carriageway. Continue ahead on road known as London Street passing “Great Expectations” hotel & bar on left. * After approx 100m turn left into South Street (opposite former ‘Reading Savings Bank’ building). At cross roads go ahead crossing over East Street and after approx. 20m, look at the first building on left (opposite 'Southern Court').

Q.3 What is written over the top of the doorway?

Continue on road to reach cross roads. Turn left into Sidmouth Street. At t-junction turn left to reach pedestrian crossing. Cross dual carriageway using crossing & turn right. After 10 m turn left into Sidmouth Street & follow to reach river. Turn left, cross bridge with metal railings & bear right onto riverside footpath. Go up ramp & turn right to cross river using footbridge. Go down steps & turn right to reach main road. At t-junction turn left & after approx. 100m turn right into Abbey Square (Note Holy Brook flowing under library). Follow road round right hand bend & continue on road to reach t- junction (Note Abbey ruins & Reading Prison in front of you). Turn left & follow road past Abbot’s House on right to pass under Abbey Gateway. Turn left passing the Crown Court on your left & continue ahead to reach Post Office. Turn right & cross road to church. Bear left, then right to go round front of church.

Q4: On the brick wall in front of you is a plaque - what date is on the plaque?

Immediately turn right along narrow walkway on other side of Church & follow to reach churchyard. Go ahead to reach road. Cross the road & go ahead through gateway to enter Forbury Gardens. (This gateway is sometimes locked. If it is, turn left to reach another gateway into the gardens opposite Valpy Street.) After entering the gardens, head towards the Lion statue bearing right and pass to the left of the Maiwand Lion and to the right of the bandstand & head towards refreshment kiosk & Abbey Gateway. Exit gardens through gate next to refreshment kiosk and turn left on road. Just before the end of the road, turn right & go ahead on walkway with lamp posts in middle. Go ahead, down steps & continue ahead on tarmac road bearing left to reach path junction by river. Turn left on riverside footpath passing Abbey ruins on left & with river on right. Just before road, go through green gates & bear right on footpath down slope. Follow footpath under road & continue ahead on riverside footpath to reach road.

Q.5 How many heads are on the Crest opposite?

Turn right on road & follow to reach t-junction. Turn left, cross river & immediately turn left down steps onto riverside footpath. Go straight ahead with river on left. Pass ‘Blakes Lock’ & continue ahead on riverside footpath to pass under two brick railway bridges. After approx 30m at junction of rivers (the mouth of the River Kennet entering the River Thames), turn right & immediately turn right onto the footbridge (Horseshoe Bridge). Follow bridge over river & at end of bridge go ahead, bearing left on riverside footpath. Follow footpath with river on right to reach playing fields known as ‘Kings Meadows’. Continue to follow footpath on right hand side of playing fields keeping river on right to reach Caversham Lock. Continue ahead on riverside footpath to pass under road bridge (Reading Bridge). Continue ahead on riverside footpath for a further 800m to reach Caversham Bridge. Go under bridge & continue ahead on riverside footpath passing ‘Crowne Plaza’ hotel to return to car park and end of walk.


1. Horseshoe Bridge:- This was built principally to take the horses pulling the barges on the River Thames across the River Kennet. It is one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s lesser known works.

2. Huntley & Palmers:- Redevelopment has taken place on the old biscuit manufacturing site, although one original building still remains as a listed building.

3. Reading Abbey & Gateway:- The Abbey gateway is the first part of the ruins you encounter on the walk & the best preserved. The Abbey was founded by King Henry 1 & it is believed that he is buried within the ruins.

4. Reading Prison:- The Victorian buildings are hidden within the perimeter wall. A notable prisoner was Oscar Wilde whose interment resulted in his famous work “The ballad of Reading Gaol”.


When you have completed this trail please use the Permanent Trail Entry Form

The organisers are not liable for accidents, thefts and/or damage to property. Every effort will be made by the organisers to make this a safe, enjoyable and memorable event.

This trail is registered until 31 December 2019