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A Walk along the Kennet

By Bill Nicholls

Time I think for another blog entry and as usual a few weeks after I did the walk. My quest to find more pillboxes to go in my log took me back to the River Kennet which is more of a canal that river. So far I had managed to collect photos and or visit pillboxes from Burghfield Mill down to Sulhamsted lock. This time I started from Tyle Mill as there was a carpark nearby but I was rather shocked to find it was quite full at the time of morning I arrived though I did manage to squeeze in between a couple of cars. Once parked up I spotted a well photographed pillbox which is a type 28A, most of the comments are it is being used as a office but I walked along the towpath to get a couple of photos from across the river where you can see the main embrasure facing downstream. SU6269 : Tree in front by Bill Nicholls
Back along the towpath to the bridge which is another swing bridge which has been built to replace the original bridge which used to here. SU6269 : Upstream side of the bridge by Bill Nicholls
The pillbox is at the end of the island where Tyle Mill is built sat in the fork though now a large tree grows in front of the embrasure SU6269 : Pillbox under the tree by Bill Nicholls.
The entrance is bricked up and a door has been fitted. All the loopholes have a wooden board fitted and the smaller embrasures have small holes in the boards. What looks to be a window near the door is information about bats which is what I think the pillbox is use for. Just to one side a toilet has been built for the use of the canal trust members.
I went back across the bridge to the towpath to walk towards Ufton Bridge taking some photos of the narrowboat negotiating the lock then swing bridge. It looks as though once the lock is open the bridge has to be or the bridge would clash with the narrowboat SU6269 : Close encounters by Bill Nicholls.
I also had a quick look for another pillbox which was marked up but to no avail. Back on the walk I took a photo of the point where Kennet splits off to go through Tyle mill to make it operate, from there it was onto Ufton swing bridge where just beside it stands another type28. This one may have been partly blocked up but the entrance is now half open so it is possible to view inside SU6168 : Half blocked up by Bill Nicholls.
The main embrasure is open with covered in ivy. A quick walk across the road brings you to a Type 24 pillbox which was made to look like a shed SU6168 : Type 26 at Ufton Bridge by Bill Nicholls. More like the shed was built and used as a mould then left in place, over the years the wooden exterior rotted away leaving the outline of the shed in place, in fact some of the wood and nails can still be seen SU6168 : More wood on the corner by Bill Nicholls SU6168 : A remaining nail by Bill Nicholls. From here it was back over the bridge and along the towpath to Towney Bridge and lock but before that you can see a pillbox on the opposite side SU6168 : Growing over the top by Bill Nicholls one I would visit on the way back now I could see how to get to it. Towney bridge SU6168 : Looking through Towney Bridge by Bill Nicholls is arched and takes animals over to the fields on the other side which has another type 28A SU6168 : Towney Bridge Type 28A by Bill Nicholls.
After getting photos of Towney lock SU6068 : Looking in the lock chamber by Bill Nicholls and the overflow that runs past it was time to head back, but a few more photos down at Ufton bridge and of the Type 28 that was nearby. To get there it was a walk past the Type 24 built like a shed to the end of the wooded area where it stands hidden under a lot of ivy and brambles SU6168 : The way through by Bill Nicholls. It is not an easy one to get in so just take it from me it is in good condition inside SU6168 : The business end by Bill Nicholls. I thought Id get some photos of what I thought was the approach to Ufton Swing bridge then realised it used to be a lock . I can only surmise that the bridge used to be a lift type and both bridge and lock gates needed to be open and when the swing bridge was built the lock was removed because the gates and bridge would have clashed.SU6168 : Ufton Lock by Bill Nicholls
On the way back to Tyle mill I took another photo of the fork and realised there was a pillbox hidden under the greenery by the willow SU6268 : Back to the fork by Bill Nicholls SU6268 : Shape in the ivy by Bill Nicholls the shape of a Type28 was unmistakeable to me but like Theale mill the pillbox is on private land which is well covered by CCTV, a visit may be possible if the owner is asked but that is for another time. The walk along the Kennet towpath is an easy and enjoyable one to do and can just as easily be done on a bike so if you have nothing to do on a Sunday then a couple of hours along the Kennet is worth the effort.
SU6269 : Fork in the Kennet by Bill Nicholls SU6269 : Moored along the bank by Bill Nicholls SU6168 : Let it be by Bill Nicholls SU6168 : Ufton Bridge by Bill Nicholls
The trip can be seen here on Rudi's great Geo-Trips LinkExternal link

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Sat, 2 Apr 2011 at 22:00
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geotagged! SU6168
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