Kennet Navigation from Reading to Newbury

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright December 2010, Maurice Pullin; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.


Contents
"In the Middle Ages, the Kennet was navigable up to Reading by reasonable sized boats. Smaller boats could go beyond, and also use the network of small streams that ran through the lower part of Reading. These were used to transport cloth between the workshops, the dyeing grounds and the fulling mills. Many of these streams have long since been filled in or have become drainage channels." From LinkExternal link

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.......................PANIC SLOWLY...............

"Panic Slowly" is the motto of the Canal Taverners Boat Club who meet in the Canal Tavern at Bradford on Avon.

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SU7373
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright


Junction with River Thames


2008
SU7373 : Kennet mouth by Graham Horn
This is the point where the Kennet joins the Thames. Go under horseshoe bridge, seen attached to the railway bridge, and this is effectively the start of the Kennet and Avon Canal, although the river has Thames jurisdiction for the first mile.
by Graham Horn



2008


2008
SU7373 : The River Kennet at its junction with the Thames by Rod Allday
A fairly scruffy end for such an attractive river.
by Rod Allday



2011
SU7373 : Under the Great Western Railway by Philip Halling
The River Kennet viewed from under the bridge carrying the Great Western Railway.
by Philip Halling



2011
SU7373 : Horseshoe railway bridge by Roger Templeman
A plaque on the listed bridge indicates the bridge was built in 1839-1840 by Isambard Kingdom Brunel taking the Great Western railway over the River Kennet. A FGW Turbo DMU passes over the bridge when the photo was taken.
by Roger Templeman



2001
SU7373 : Railway Bridge over the River Kennet by Tim Glover
This bridge was built by the South Eastern Railway to carry their line from Redhill to Reading over the River Kennet.
by Tim Glover



SU7273
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Blakes Lock


2010
SU7273 : Inside the Turbine House, Blakes Lock by Rose and Trev Clough
A redundant part of Reading's sewage pumping station, opened in 1873 to transfer sewage to a treatment works outside the town. Some of the later pumps and turbines are on display, now as part of the Riverside Museum LinkExternal link . The building projects out into the River Kennet - the exterior is shown here SU7273 : Blake's Lock pumping station .
The turbines used the flow of the river Kennet to generate power - the bulk of the machinery was below the floor. In the 1950s they were superseded by electric pumps housed in an adjacent building, still operated by Thames Water (Information from board in museum).
The Turbine and Pump House is a grade II listed building - for architectural information see LinkExternal link .
by Rose and Trev Clough



2009
SU7273 : Blakes Lock, Reading by don cload
Blakes Lock Reading
Strictly speaking this is the eastern end of the Kennet Navigation. Blakes Lock is the only lock maintained by Thames Conservancy which is not actually on the River Thames. A short term licence for passage of the Thames can be purchased here if required. A seven day licence should be sufficient for most boaters to travel south to Brentford to join the Grand Union Canal with a foray onto the River Wey at Weybridge, or a trip upstream to head of navigation at Lechlade and return to Oxford for the Oxford Canal. by MEP



2008
SU7273 : Blakes Lock by Graham Horn
One of the hand-operated paddle wheels on Blakes Lock. Although on the River Kennet, this is a Thames Lock, the only one not actually on the Thames, as the Thames jurisdiction continues up the Kennet for another half a mile. The lock has a fall of 3'4" and the hand paddles are very easy and intuitive to use (red the paddle is up, white it is down) although there is usually a Lock keeper.
by Graham Horn



2008
SU7273 : Museum and restaurant by Graham Horn
Part of Reading museum houses a waterway section in a former pump house to the right. The rest of the building, and the floating barge in the foreground, is now a restaurant, one of "Bel and the Dragon" chain. There are convenient narrowboat and cruiser moorings. Behind, the former Alder Valley bus depot site now has many new apartments.
by Graham Horn



2008
SU7273 : NB Hadar at Reading Waterfest by Graham Horn
The steerer and mate of Hadar proudly display her at Reading Waterfest. The boat is a replica of a traditional Grand Union Canal Carrying boat, with detail right down to the number, 48, which would have been the correct number in the original 1930s alphabetical sequence of names.
She was built in 2007 but has an engine of the correct vintage.
Modern flats and offices now overlook the original line of the River Kennet.
by Graham Horn



2008
SU7273 : The River Kennet, Reading by Andrew Smith
The view from King's Road towards Blake's Lock as the river passes between the red-brick Orts Road estate and modern apartments.
by Andrew Smith



2010
SU7273 : Harry Tee Court by Des Blenkinsopp
Riverside flats on the former Huntley and Palmers biscuit works site.
Tried to find out who Harry Tee is/was but rapidly lost interest.
Googling anything with Harry + Reading inevitably leads you to stuff about reading Harry Potter.
Update from Graham Horn:- Comment: Des. Harry Tee was Chief Executive of Reading Borough Council from 1967 to 1988. For that period he was effectively Mr.Reading, his word was law, you did not mess with Mr. Tee. Graham.
Thanks for that. DB
by Des Blenkinsopp



2008
SU7273 : Huntley and Palmers,  and  Prudential, Reading by Derek Harper
A view of the buildings shown in SU7273 : King's Road, Reading, seen from the towpath alongside the Kennet as it is crossed by King's Road.
by Derek Harper



2010
SU7273 : Last of the factory by Bill Nicholls
All this area used to be part of Huntley and Palmers biscuit factory when I went to school round the corner; now all that is left is this building which has been converted to flats.
by Bill Nicholls



2007
SU7273 : Kennet Side, Reading by Andrew Smith
Looking down from the new footbridge to the east of Blake's Lock. The brick building behind is Newtown Primary School.
by Andrew Smith



SU7173
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright


High Bridge: *Brewery Gut: County Lock


2005
SU7173 : Duke Street Bridge, River Kennet, Reading by Brendan and Ruth McCartney
Also known as High Bridge (it was when it was built) at the downstream end of Brewery Gut. by MEP



2008
SU7173 : Reading Waterfest duck race by Graham Horn
Most of Reading Waterfest occurs in the next square east, but the ducks for the duck race are set off along the Holybrook so that they gain enough momentum. Here the leaders are leaving the Holybrook and entering the main stream of the River Kennet. Some ducks can get quite nervous about entering this much larger river and the swimming order can change considerably.
by Graham Horn



2008
SU7173 : Narrowboat at Reading Waterfest by Graham Horn
The western end of the waterfest site lies just in this grid square; most activity can be seen in SU7273 to the east. Here one of the narrowboats in the boat parade is turning off the original line of the River Kennet back onto the new line.
Behind is one of the buildings of Prudential, a major Reading employer.
by Graham Horn



2008
SU7173 : The River Kennet, Reading by Andrew Smith
Showing the apartments and offices that line the northern bank of the river as it leaves the town centre.
by Andrew Smith



2008
SU7173 : The River Kennet and apartments, Reading by Andrew Smith
Apartments stand on the strip between the river and King's Road. This is viewed from the path beside Queen's Road car park.
by Andrew Smith



2008
SU7173 : The Kennet in The Oracle, Reading by Derek Harper
The river flows, away from the camera, through the southern side of the large shopping development.
by Derek Harper



2007
SU7173 : The Oracle, Reading by Andrew Smith
The River Kennet flows through the middle of the shopping and entertainment centre. The shops are on the northern side with bars and restaurants on both sides.
by Andrew Smith



2009
SU7173 : Weir by the lock by Bill Nicholls
This is a weir though no gates are involved. On this one there are rather large buoys chained together to stop boats from going over it. Getting here was a task on its own as the whole area was a sheet of ice.
by Bill Nicholls



2009It is necessary for boaters to stop under the bridge to operate the lock, any boater who misses the landing will probably be carried onto the boom before going over the weir with his boat if lucky, an unfortunate fate either way as he will probably need to be hauled off, I believe the local fire brigade has had plenty of practice.
SU7173 : River Kennet by Graham Horn
The narrowboat is heading left into County Lock the first British Waterways lock on the Kennet. It bypasses County Weir. Although the fall on the weir seems shallow (often only a few inches), this forms an important function in helping to regulate the water flowing through Reading. The whole of the Kennet catchment comes through here and in winter conditions the water level here can be a metre higher. In the background is the Inner Distribution Road (IDR) which is just in SU7172
by Graham Horn



1998
[image id=321860 text=County Lock Reading
As soon as he leaves County Lock going downstream the boater enters a section of river which ran through the former Simmonds Brewery and was known as "Brewery Gut". Now surrounded by a shopping centre and places of entertainment. The river is narrow and runs quickly here even when water levels are normal, the bends, and there are many, come fast and furious with little warning. A bit like going down the Cresta Run but more exciting, there is no possibility of anything coming the other way on the Cresta Run*. Another thing, you need to be travelling about four mph faster than the current to maintain steerage way. No place for the timid, foolhardy yes, timid no. The best is saved til last, High Bridge! It is not high (you need to duck) and the sides slope down to the waters edge giving a navigable width in the middle of about 20 feet, much less when there is plenty of fresh** in river. The author, being young and foolish at the time of his first passage, a mere stripling only a year after retirement, went through early in the year when there was quite a lot of "fresh" and managed with only a very minor scrape under High Bridge.
by MEP



KML

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