Two years on, what has changed on the scenic route to the Madejski Stadium?

Sustrans signpost on Waterloo Meadows

Reading were at home to Sheffield Wednesday for their first game of the 2018/19 season. It was a fine day, so we decided to see what had changed since 2017 on the scenic cross-country route from the Whitley Pump to the Madejski Stadium.

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‘A Walk for Stanley’ by Peter Driver

The weir at Fobney Island

In July 2018, the multi-disciplinary artist Peter Driver set out on a three day pilgrimage from the Stanley Spencer Gallery in the village of Cookham to the Sandham Memorial Chapel at Burghclere. A Walk for Stanley is a travel diary that captures the journey in photos, sketches, woodcuts, sonnets and prose.

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Friends of the IDR respond to the RBC transport consultation

The Black History Mural and the IDR

The Whitley Pump asked Reg Vastern-King, chair of the Friends of the IDR (Inner Distribution Road), what he thought about the Reading Borough Council (RBC) consultation on transport strategy; he was not impressed. “I just don’t understand,” he said “how can you carry out a transport strategy consultation which does not even ask how you feel about the IDR?”

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Reading MP Matt Rodda says “Cycling should be for the many, not just the brave.”

Matt Rodda, Labour MP for Reading East and shadow minister for transport (buses), took part in the Active Travel debate in Parliament on 9 July. The Whitley Pump called “house!” at the end of his speech, having completed at least one line in any direction as well as all four corners of our political buzzword bingo card, with a bonus prize for the mention of Reading.

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Winter flocks on Coley meadows

By Adrian Lawson.

A murmuration of starlings at Gretna. Photo: Walter Baxter via Wikimedia Commons

Flocks of birds are a phenomenon that have always intrigued me. Watching how different birds go about it has fascinated me all my life. There are those obscure little flocks of twittering tits that flit about the hedgerows in winter, and there are those massive and spectacular starling murmurations that fill the dusk skies with choreographed magic.

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Walking stages 3 and 4 of the IDR

The ski jump at the end of the IDR in 1984. The Hook and Tackle is the on the left, painted white.

Having carved its way from Caversham Road to the foot of Southampton Street, in the 1970s Reading’s Inner Distribution Road (IDR) stopped abruptly at the ‘ski jump’ where the Oracle roundabout now is. During this hiatus, Reading consulted and debated about whether and how to continue.

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Introduction to “a walk around Reading’s IDR”

The IDR as it was intended to be built at the time that Stage I was under construction.

The Whitley Pump is leading a walk around Reading’s Inner Distribution Road (IDR) as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days in September. Reading’s post-war history, in which it transformed from a primarily industrial to a retail town, circle the IDR like the IDR circles the town centre.

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Reading’s New Local Plan moves forward to last stages

You can now read everything you ever wanted to know about Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) new local plan on a dedicated web page. Once adopted, it will be the main planning document for Reading until 2036.

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1962 air crash wreckage found at Kennet Meadows

By Adrian Lawson.

Coley Meadows (c) Adrian Lawson

I met the owner of part of Coley meadows many years ago, and he told me a fascinating tale of two aeroplanes colliding there. He described the area where he thought they had crashed, and for many years I kept my eyes open for any sign. When the Fobney Island nature reserve was being dug I had hoped to find some evidence, but there was none. I looked it up and found a news report; the crash happened on 4 November 1962. There was no detail on the actual location, so I asked a few of the more senior residents, but strangely nobody knew much.

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Katesgrove’s bountiful river valley

By Adrian Lawson.

Sadly, there are few good places on Katesgrove hill to enjoy the westward view. The steep west-facing scarp of Katesgrove hill is the edge of a river valley, and at the bottom flows the river Kennet. The river carved the valley into Reading before it became a canal, and used to run riot over a vast area of low lying land between Southcote and Whitley. The valley south and west of Katesgrove is a couple of miles wide, suddenly narrowing as it passes through two hills, Katesgrove and Coley. From the top of Katesgrove hill the view over the valley should be cherished, especially when the valley is full of floodwater and the sun sets beyond.

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