Volunteers needed for litter pick at Waterloo Meadows on Saturday 13 October

Volunteers are needed to help the Friends of Waterloo Meadows clean up the meadows on Saturday 13 October.

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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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Whitethroats and I

by Adrian Lawson.

Whitethroat. Photo: Nikola Middlemast

If you see me at this time of year, I am usually not walking very fast – I am scanning the fields and bushes on my regular walks looking for the common whitethroat. From spring and through the summer there are quite a few of them scattered around Reading, skulking in bushes or patches of bramble, and singing their curious scratchy little song.

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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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The Historic Katesgrove Industries Tour

Reading, from the South Hill 1882. reproduced from Illustrated London News.

The Historic Katesgrove Industries tour was available for the first time on 8 September 2017 during the Heritage Open Days weekend. The two hour walk started at the foot of London Street outside Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC) and, after a loop around Katesgrove, ended outside Great Expectations, next door to RISC.

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The Life and death of Reading’s King, in the Oracle on the Kennet

Courtesy of the “Reading-on-Thames Festival“, which is sadly a misstatement when clearly Reading’s whole history is based on the River Kennet, came free culture in the form Reading Between the Lines Theatre Company’s play The Life and Death of Reading’s King. For the lucky 700 ticket holders on the night of 15 September this was a history making moment.

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Preparing for floods in Katesgrove

Kennet Towpath, just under Pell Street Bridge, February 2014

Kennet Towpath, just under Pell Street Bridge, February 2014

Between a quarter and a half of Katesgrove, as well as parts of Redlands and the Whiteknights university campus, are susceptible to groundwater flooding according to Reading Borough Council (RBC) statistics. The UK Environment Agency (EA) has identified areas at risk near the Kennet such as Waterloo Meadows, Elgar Road, Katesgrove Lane, Mill Lane and Queens Road .

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