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Kennet and Avon Canal

Route Details

  • From - to: Newbury to Reading
  • Distance: 19 miles
  • Type: Mix of canal towpath and minor roads
  • Surface: Mostly compacted stone
  • National Cycle Network: Route 4

Route Description

With its gentle gradients and the close-up view of canal side life, this route is a wonderful way to explore this corner of Berkshire. Linking Newbury with the modern centre of Reading, the route follows the canal towpath, with an occasional on-road detour.

The route leaves the towpath at Thatcham station and follows the road into the centre of this historic town, and then returns to the towpath along shared use paths. This is signed as Route 4. You might want to stop at the Nature Discovery Centre and reed beds (open from 1pm to 3pm except on Mondays) just west of Thatcham.

Quieter than the western section (between Bath and Devizes), it's a delightful traffic-free ride for all the family.

Easily reached from London by rail, there are stations every few miles. This makes it easy to plan an out and back day trip. With lots of attractions in the area its worth coming off the canal path and doing some further exploring. 

One popular destination is Highclere Castle in Newbury where Downton Abbey is filmed – it’s 7 miles away from Newbury.  If you want to visit it’s better to book in advance to guarantee access. 

There is a route description sheet covering Newbury to Reading. For further information, visit the British Waterways Canal and River Trust website.

Important information

Please watch out for the potentially slippery grass at Tyle Mill sluice - surface improvements are planned here, but it is a sensitive conservation area. At Woolhampton there is a length of privately-owned towpath on which cycling is not allowed. Please wheel your bike for this 600-metre section.

Local attractions:

Related maps

Latitude: 
51.41626723038934
Longitude: 
-1.1328618674316449
Zoom level: 
13
Title: 
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Image: 
Description: 

Covering the Thames Valley area of the South East of England

Region:

With its gentle gradients and the close-up view of canal side life, this route is a wonderful way to explore this corner of Berkshire. Linking Newbury with the modern centre of Reading, the route follows the canal towpath, with an occasional on-road detour.

Length: 
19 miles