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The Windsor And Return From Aldermaston.php Canal Boating Cruising Route
Aldermaston wharf is close to the railway station with good connections to Paddington in London, taking 55 minutes from London Paddington , or 13 minutes from Reading railway station.
At Aldermaston Wharf is the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Visitor centre, with a picnic area, and serving light refreshments from Easter -Oct. There is also the Butt Inn pub at Aldermaston Wharf, serving real ales and excellent food for all the family.
The River Kennet can make a considerable impact on the navigation when in spate. In such conditions do not cruise east beyond Hungerford, or west beyond Reading unless experienced.
This cruise will involve River cruising beyond Reading on the River Thames, which requires an additional licence which can be bought at the lock at the junction of the canal and Thames.
From the marina cruise East, Padworth Lock will soon be reached.
The canal heads North East, constantly joining and re-joining the River Kennet. Beyond Tyle Mill
are a series of gravel pits offering a wildlife haven, the canal continues through wooded fields past the village of Sulhamstead. The nature reserves of Cumber lake to the North and Woolwich Green lake to the south can be reached by a short walk from Sulhamstead Lock. There is a swing bread at Theale, the village is ¾ mile to the north, there are a few pubs, stores, garage, and a chemist and a bank in the quiet village.
It is just under 3 hours to here, and an ideal place to stop for your 1st night.
The peace of the surroundings is momentarily interrupted as you go under the M4 motorway, but on
the outskirts of Reading the water filled nature reserve gravel pits bring a degree of serenity.
The River cuts through the middle of the town and so access to all facilities is easy, but the River is through a narrow channel & fast flowing, so care is needed, there are traffic lights controlling this section. Reading is a large town with lots of shops and pubs. Visit the website for what to see & do:
The Museum of English Rural life, also Reading Museum, & 12th century Abbey ruins. There are 2 big shopping centres, the Oracle and Broad St Mall, which includes big High Street names, and independent shops.
The River museum is by Blakes Lock, housed in the city's old sewerage pumping station, displays include a gipsy caravan. The old turbine house has lovely views over the River.
RIVER THAMES LICENCE- From Inglesham to Teddington the narrowboat has to be registered with the Environment Agency and must display a current licence. Short period registrations are available for boats visiting the River Thames, and can be obtained at many of the locks as you come onto the River. You can also telephone or download a booking form in advance. The speed limit is 5 miles per hour.
You leave the Kennet & Avon Canal just beyond Blakes Lock and enter the River Thames.
Passing the large water filled gravel pits on your left, you will soon reach Sonning Lock. The Village, which lies back from the River, is a pretty meticulously preserved village & has a PO, stores, pubs and cafe. There is mooring beyond Sonning Bridge.
The river continues weaving its way through a series of islands to Shipway lock. Beyond Marsh Lock the famous rowing town of Henley on Thames is reached. There is mooring before and after Henley bridge. This is a good place to moor up for the night, it is nearly 7 hours cruising from Theale to here.
Henley has an attractive waterfront, many moored boats and resident swans.
Henley is a fine market town and the main street runs down to the River Thames. The famous Henley Regetta is held in the 1st week of July. There is a River and rowing museum just outside Henley. Exhibits include the worlds oldest rowing boat see website.
Also in Henley is Fawley Court which was designed by Wren & built in 1684, with grounds by Capability brown. It has a library with various documents of the Polish monarchy and Polish militaria.
Leaving Henley the River passes Hambleden (moorings) and Hurley, a small village that has a couple of pubs. At Marlow you will see the elegant white Marlow suspension bridge with the lock just beyond. There are moorings before the bridge. Marlow is a very lively and handsome Georgian town. West street at the top of the High street has many literary associations, Thomas Peacock wrote Nightmare Abbey at No 47, Shelley wrote Revolt to Islamin Albion House, and his wife Mary Godwin created Frankenstein here. TS Eliot also lived here for a while.
This part of the Thames is very popular for sailing so watch out for all the pleasure craft.
Soon Maidenhead is reached, and the riverside is busy and attractive. There are moorings beyond Boulters Lock, or Maidenhead Railway bridge. Maidenhead is a dormitory surburb of London with much new development, and has many shops, pubs and restaurants.
Beyond Bray Lock & The M4 bridge, is Monkey island with its smart Hotel, but which was once the fishing lodge and pavilion of the 3rd Duke of Marlborough built in 1744 on rubble salvaged from the Great Fire of London . To the north of Summer Leaze bridge is Dorney Court and Church, a gabled and timbered Tudor manor House built c.1440. The house has many original features and contains fine furniture and paintings.
The outskirts of Windsor are reached, the racecourse on your right is the only figure of 8 course in the country. There are horse racing fixtures throughout the year.
There are moorings before or after Windsor railway Bridge, Windsor is to the south of the River, Eton to the North. It is 8 hours cruising from Henley to here.
The main street of Windsor curves around the castle and is full of pubs, shops, restaurants and souvenir shops. Windsor castle is the largest inhabited castle in the World, established by William the Conqueror during the 1070's the present castle was started by Henry11 during 1165-1179. It has been meticulously restored after the disastrous fire in 1992, and includes:
Magnificent State Apartments furnished with treasures from the Royal Collection
• St George's Chapel (one of the most beautiful ecclesiastical buildings in England and the burial place of 10 monarchs)
• Queen Mary's Dolls House, a masterpiece in miniature
• The Drawings Gallery featuring an exhibition (see below for current display).
LEGOLAND Windsor is a theme park dedicated to children aged 3-12 years old. An inspirational land where the kids are the hero. It's a family attraction like no other - where the fun never stops and imagination knows no bounds. With over 55 interactive rides, live shows, building workshops, driving schools and attractions, all set in 150 acres of beautiful parkland, LEGOLAND Windsor is a unique family theme park.
Across Windsor bridge is Eton, the long and rambling High Street is a pleasant place to walk, Eton College was founded in 1440 by Henry VI and 18 former Prime Ministers have been educated here.
It is 17.75 hours from Windsor back to Aldermaston marina, which will take you 2 full days cruising, or 3 days if you wish to meander your way back & take in the sights that you didn't have time for on the way.