Sunday, 1 June 2008

River Kennet and Sulhamstead Bannister

The Kennet

The walk begins on the River Kennet near Theale, just west of Reading. You follow the river bank for a while and then join the Kennet and Avon Canal. Departing the canal, you skirt a lake and then return to the start via lanes and fields, passing through Sulhamstead Bannister. Here the route goes the the burial ground and you can see the porch, the only remains of St Michael's church. Built 1914, demolished some time after 1966. Not immediately clear why.

St Michael's Church, Sullamstead Bannister

However, my 1966 edition of Pevsner suggests the answer. Pevsner is dismissive of the church: "St Michael. 1914 by EJ Munt; flint, Gothic, and really of no architectural interest at all. Moreover redundant now."

Six and three quarter miles of easy walking.

From: Rambling for Pleasure: Around Reading first series by David Bounds for the East BerkshireRamblers’ Association Group.

Map: Explorer 159 (Reading, Wokingham & Pangbourne).

Rating: three and a half stars.


Lots of dragon flies by the waters edge. Banded Demoiselles with their dark blue wings, with a distinctive blue "thumb print", and much smaller Blue-tailed Damselflies.

Lots of geese, especially these Greylags. Large groups of these - and also Canada geese - in the fields near the canal.

Greylag geese processing into the Kennet

And then a real surprise. "Is there some type of black heron?", I foolishly asked, as this splendid bird landed on top of a tree and spread its wings to dry. Nope - it's a cormorant. Apparently they are increasingly often being seen inland.

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