After the bad predictions for the last couple of days,
the weather forecast for today looks good: sunny periods with temperatures up to 17 degrees.
Today's walk is from Thatcham to Kintbury. Both places are served by the
railway line from Reading and both stations are close to the Canal.
So getting there and back should be easy.
However, as you can see from the plan
on the left,
the return journey may involve lots of changes.
We shall see.
I think a new ticket system comes into being today:
so out go Cheap Day, Savers and they are replaced by Off Peak and Anytime.
It's heralded as a simplification of the complicated ticketing system.
I recall the same was said when Saver Returns were introduced.
(I tried to find out from the web when that was but I didn't succeed.)
Unfortunately, after they had replaced a large number of ticket types
they later introduced Super Savers, Apex, Advance, ... .
And so it got out of hand once more.
I wonder how long today's new system will remain simple.
Let's get on with the walking.
Today's walk is about 9 miles along the towpath.
I want to do 6.5 miles
before lunch as that's the location of the most convenient pub.
Monkey Marsh Lock
© Copyright John Lloyd and
licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
I'll be passing locks 90 to 78, that's a few more than yesterday.
Lock 80 is about half way up the incline from Reading to
the pound at the top of the Canal.
So, by the time I reach lock 80,
I will have done half of the 340 foot (103 metre) climb.
The first lock
is Old Monkey Marsh Lock.
There's a photo of it above.
I get to it almost immediately after leaving the Station,
and (like Garston Lock which I saw two day's ago)
it's a turf-sided lock.
The Nicholson's Guide says
Old Monkey Marsh Lock,
one of only two remaining examples of a turf-sided lock,
has been listed as an ancient monument by English heritage.
It is now restored with iron-piling
to two feet above low water level,
turf-lined banks sloping to the top of the lock,
together with a timber framework
show larger map
open kml file (?Google Earth)
to delineate the actual lock chamber when full.
The lock should be left empty after use.
There is then a long straight on the run into Newbury.
This used to be the end of the Kennet Navigation
before the Kennet and Avon Canal Company
extended it westwards to the River Avon at Bath.
The Navigation (from Reading to Newbury)
was completed in 1723
with the work to Bath completed in 1810.
Newbury will be busy and hating crowds I'll aim to get in and out
as quickly as possible.
it's about 3 miles from Newbury
to the place where I can get lunch.
The plan is to go to the Red House
in March Benham.
Nicholson's Guide says that
it's about 0.25 miles
north east of Hamstead Lock.
in a thatched estate village near Benham Park.
Once the local bakery
it now dispenses ales.
though appetising menu by award winning chef,
served in bar and restaurant.
Here's a photo of the Red House:
It's taken from the
Red Houses's web pages.
Although their pages say that
their real ale is popular amongst the walkers,
boat owners and lunchtime trade who have come to regard
The Red House as their second home,
it doesn't say what they have to offer.
Their pages do explain in detail their extensive menu
and wine list.
For example, the Light Snacks menu
Bacon and mushroom, grated cheddar
Grilled chicken, avocado and brie
Minute steak and red onion
Galloway smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber
Open sandwich of grilled goat's cheese, sun-dried tomato & rocket
All of these are served on Red House baked bread with coleslaw.
They are all at 5.95 UKP.
I also see that there's a
Cheese Ploughman's at 6.95 UKP.
The first lock after lunch is Copse Lock.
Here is a photo of it in a sorry state some years back:
From Copse Lock,
it's about another two miles to Kintbury.
Wikipedia page for Kintbury
Kintbury was spelt Cynetanbyrig in the 10th century
and Kenetebury in the 13th century.
After Saint Birinus converted the people of Berkshire to Christianity
in the mid 7th century,
minsters soon became established in the county
from which priests were sent out into the countryside.
One such was founded at Kintbury,
possibly it was the 'holy place' mentioned in the will of the Saxon thegn,
Wulfgar, in 935.
It also says
Kintbury was named by the Sunday Times in 2007
as in the top ten of England's most sought after villages.
The photo is taken from
the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust's Museum pages about
the Decline of the Canal.
Nick Corble's photo shows a
horse taking a break from its duties pulling a tourist boat
at Kintbury on the Kennet and Avon Canal.
It is released under a
Creative Commons license.