This trail starts at Aldermaston Wharf beside the Kennet and Avon Canal, crosses over the River Kennet and climbs to the pretty 12th century church at Padworth village. A very pleasant walk that is suitable for the whole family.
The trail starts at Aldermaston Visitor Centre beside the Kennet and Avon Canal. The Visitor Centre is in a former canalman's cottage and has a small display of material about the Kennet and Avon Canal. There is also a tearoom and shop. Aldermaston Wharf is just off the A4 between Reading and Newbury. Train services between Reading and Newbury stop at the railway station.
From the Visitor Centre car park turn right along the side of the Kennet and Avon Canal. Cross the road bridge and turn immediately left into the lane that runs past Alder Bridge School. Continue along the lane, past the trout farm and turn right down a narrow footpath between two fences at the entrance to Padworth Mill.
Cross the River Kennet. This weir is part of the Millennium Salmon Pass Project, which provides passing points along the river for migrating fish. Go through the kissing gate, cross the field, over a small footbridge and then bear left as the path splits three ways. Head for the left corner of the wood.
At the wood cross over a small footbridge and continue forward up the hill heading for the church steeple. At the top of the hill join the road that passes to the side of the stables. Turn left onto a footpath and approach St. John the Baptist's Church.
The trail continues past the church and war memorial. Go through a kissing gate and then bear left over the driveway. The path continues to the left of a large pond before turning left through woods down the right-hand side of the college. At the end of the woods go through a metal gate and then bear right. Pass through several gates before joining a driveway. Descend the hill to the road and turn left past Lodge Farm.
Take care along this lane. After crossing Padworth Bridge, turn left onto the footpath that runs beside the River Kennet. At Padworth Mill rejoin the outbound route and return to Aldermaston Wharf Visitor Centre.
Aldermaston Wharf was constructed when the River Kennet was made navigable between Reading and Newbury in 1723. A trading community quickly developed around it. On completion of the Kennet and Avon Canal almost a hundred years later local trade flourished even more with the export of timber products, malt and flour and imports of coal, groceries and manufactured goods. When the Great Western Railway bought the canal in the 1850s a canal spur was constructed to integrate the canal with the railway.
River Kennet Millennium Salmon Pass Project
The River Kennet had a good salmon population until the arrival of the Industrial Revolution. Since then a large number of weirs have been constructed to allow boat traffic to move along the river. These prevent salmon from reaching certain areas where they can spawn and their young can grow. A series of 'fish passes' have been created in several weirs along the river, which have encouraged biodiversity and benefited the ecosystem.