Thanks for your kind comments and good thoughts on my last post; you helped me through a busy few weeks with sore fingers and not enough energy. Thankfully, things feel on the up. My new medication is bedding in; new projects are beginning while older projects on which I’ve been working for a while now are winding down; and at long last the spring is really here with summer feeling not too far behind. I’m glad for recent sunshine, and happy that this latest flare-up has not adversely affected my ability to walk around and enjoy it.

For the last month or so I’ve want to tell you about my favourite walking route, along the canal and up towards the weir. It’s a route myself and Mark take very often, and I can’t count how many times we’ve laughed, ranted, planned, chatted and shared companionable quiet along its ways. This route is the one I take when I need to think, when I need to get outside and be out of my head, and when I need to move my body after being confined at the computer for too long.

When I feel sad, taking this route with my trusty SLR in hand is always the medicine I need.

Green Alkanet

One of my favourite annual events round here (and one I’ve talked about in previous years) is the appearance of bright blue green alkanet flowers, dandelions and white nettles. They can be seen on the first part of my favourite walk, peeping between the lovely Reading bricks on Hagley Road.

Reading bricks

Turning onto Elgar Road and past the dusty industrial estate, a scruffy path leads down to Waterloo Meadows, opening into wide grassland with clusters of trees and a way down to the bank of the River Kennet.

scruffy path

My photos of walking along the river towards Rose Kiln Lane are already out of date but in April, when I was there taking pictures, there were lush fuzzy clusters of pussy willow, fresh green leaves and lavish blossoms blooming all along the way. The dense flora around the canal is rammed with birds from now until late Autumn, raising their young, singing their songs, bickering, and foraging and it is always a beautiful thing to walk along and listen to them.


Pussy Willow


My favourite route comes to a thick metal gate, where you turn left to cross the river over the big concrete road bridge. You don’t have to cross the road, just to follow the tarmac path around to the right, where it curves round under itself, and beneath a second underpass, where you can continue to walk beside the river. Over the years various property developments have appeared on the far bank; I never took any photos of Kennet Island while it was under construction but these are the new apartment blocks going up currently and this is what they look like in progress.

new apartments

Further along the river is a much older construction – some sort of pumping station or similar – positioned right beside a lock. The building has beautiful brickwork and has been adorned over the years by the comrades who like to gather nearby with cans, music, friends and bikes.

Victorian pumping station



Victorian building

Just after passing this charismatic old building, the path forks giving you the option to continue walking right next to the river, or to meander through Fobney Island – a wetland nature reserve restored to its current state of loveliness in 2011. I wish I had some photos from the time before the nature reserve came into being as I can’t really remember what it was like. It is beautiful now. There are swans and geese and ducks enjoying the water; dog walkers enjoying the pathways; and me, enjoying the views and the colours.

water and sky



Winding through the nature reserve under the pylons and past the bushes rammed with twittering sparrows and joyous thrushes, the path joins up with the riverbank once again, and if you keep going, you get to the weir that Mark has always called “The Dragon” because it roars, and because of its teeth.

The Dragon

The water seems to be everywhere; in the river ahead, the river to the side, and in the area under the bridge into which the weir spills out. It’s blue and sparkly and shiny and loud and I love it.

beyond the weir

The weir

The sky in the water

I feel so lucky that this walk is always there to enjoy. It is just the right length for a good walk too. When I am returning, this is the view that makes me look forward to a cup of tea and being home again.

Looking up towards home

What are your favourite everyday walks?

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