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 scenic route from the Whitley Pump to the Madejski Stadium

There is an nearly traffic-free route from the Whitley Pump to the Madejski Stadium. It is a timeless and almost secret world of ancient paths beside rivers and streams and through the meadows of south Reading.

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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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