Borough Walk route – Beating the Bounds

The Mayor’s Boundary Walk

August and September 2022

The Mayor’s Boundary Walk is a 25 mile walk around the borough boundary of Reading.

The Mayor of Reading, Cllr Rachel Eden, would like you to invite you to take part in this special fundraising activity raising essential funds for her chosen charities; 

  • Parenting Special Children (supporting families who have children with special needs)
  • The Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality (bringing diverse communities together)
  • The Sue Ryder, Duchess of Kent Hospice (supporting people coming to end of life, with specialist medical care alongside with other emotional, practical and spiritual support).

Based on the tradition of ‘Beating the Bounds’ this walk takes in Reading’s boundaries with Wokingham, West Berkshire, South Oxfordshire and Hampshire.  It includes some of Reading’s most interesting and iconic sights including the home of Reading FC, the University campus, Clayfield Copse, the Thames Path and the Kennet and Avon canal.

Use the event as your fundraiser to raise money while you walk.  You can download a sponsorship form and donate what you have raised below.

All funds raised are being donated to the Mayor’s charities, which are Parenting Special Children, The Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality and Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice.

Take part as a family or with friends – you can either challenge yourselves to do the whole route or break it down into 4 smaller routes!

It is £3 to purchase the official map and walk route with all funds raised being donated to the Mayor’s charities. Maps will be available to buy from the following outlets;

  • Reading Town Hall and Museum
  • The Hexagon
  • Central, Tilehurst, Battle, Caversham, Palmer Park and Southcote libraries

There are also 11 QR check points along the route where you can learn historical facts. Get your steps up, improve your fitness and have fun at the same time as well as learning more about Reading and it’s history!

Beating the Bounds sponsorship form

1. 1911 Borough Extension Act (Tilehurst and Caversham) – Leg 3

Following the borough extension act of 1911 Tilehurst and Caversham became part of the borough of Reading.  To mark this, in 1912 the Mayor and some Councillors and Aldermen walked the boundaries of the borough.   The following article was written by Evelyn Williams exploring what information is available.  This walk was the inspiration for the ‘Mayor’s Walk’ route which as far as possible, using public rights of way, follows this original route. (Source: Wikipedia page on beating the bounds)

Further reading and boundary map

Beating the Borough Boundary in 1912 (pdf)

Beating the Bound booklet (pdf)       

An interesting read on the Borough extension act

2. UoR Whiteknights campus – Earley Gate entrance: RG6 7BE – Leg 1

Set in 130 hectares of stunning parkland, UoR Whiteknights campus offers plenty of places to eat, shop, study and socialise. The site has received ten consecutive Green Flag awards, recognising it as one of Britain’s top green spaces. The scenic campus includes a lake, woodlands, plus the popular Harris Garden – all available for students, staff and local residents to enjoy. The campus is a thriving community and features the students’ union, the Library, fantastic study areas, two on-site museums, shops and other amenities, and several halls of residence. The campus houses ‘The Cole Museum of Zoology’ which contains more than 3,500 specimens making it a unique resource to teach undergraduate zoology. (Source: University of Reading information on university facilities)

3. Reading Football Club (the stadium) – RG2 0FL – Leg 2

Reading Football Club was founded in late 1871 when a group of young townsmen met in Gun Street to kick off the club. They recently celebrated their 150 Anniversary in December 2021 making them the oldest League club in the south of England. The Madejski Stadium opened in 1998, after RFC moved from Elm Park, at a cost of £50 million. The Royals have enjoyed generally an upturn in fortunes – gaining promotion to Division One in 2002 and reaching the Premier League for the first time in 2006. In 2021, it became the Select Car Leasing Stadium, a local-based business committed to a ten-year partnership with the Royals. (Source: Reading Football Club website and Wikipedia page on Reading Football Club)

4. Green Park Wind turbine – RG2 6GP – Leg 1

Completed in November 2005, Green Park wind turbine is Europe’s most visible making it major landmark. At 120m tall, the 2MWatt state-of-the-art turbine is one of the UK largest land-based, soaring above Junction 11 on the M4 motorway. Offering over 11 million people a year an inspiring view of a cleaner future. It can generate 4.5 million units (kWh) of green electricity annually, enough for 1,500 local homes and businesses. It feeds the National Grid, although 70% of the energy generated gets used in a two square mile. The turbine has a minimum operating wind speed of 4mph and a maximum of 69 mph. The blade measures 35 metres and the turbine has a 30 year life cycle. Guided tours can be arranged for those interested in learning more. (Source: Green Park page on the wind turbine)

5. Kennet and Avon Canal – Lock 104 -Southcote Lock –RG30 3DZ – Leg 2

Built between 1718-1723 by Engineer John Hore of Newbury. In the 18th century, a wire mill was built on the south side of the canal, on an island, supplied with bar iron from Sowley Forge, Hampshire. In 1850, a pumping station was built on the north side, suppling filtered water to Reading’s Bath Road Reservoir for the town’s population expansion. In 1896, the Southcote Water Works (owned by Reading Corporation) was superseded by the newly upgraded steam-powered station at Fobney; Southcote’s water wheels and pumps were mothballed. Three years later, however, the Southcote works were overhauled, new filters and pipes were installed and were in use until 1982 when Fobney was upgraded. In 1952, Southcote Lock was deemed unsafe, subsequently closed, not reopening until the 1970s. The pumping station building is now a residential dwelling, but the wire mill remained derelict. (Source: Wikipedia page on Southcote Lock)

6. The Thames Path and Bridges – Multiple Postcodes – – Leg 2 & Leg 4

The Thames Path is 184 miles and is the longest river walk in Europe. The Thames is 215 miles long and is home to 120+ species of fish, plus otters, voles, eels & many insects. Caversham and Reading Bridges are the main crossing points in Reading. The former features a 2018 – Commemorative Panel to ‘The Greatest Knight’ (William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke) that ever lived, who ended his days in Caversham. He served & survived 5 kings and was an early “diplomat”! A tiny unpopulated island – 150m x 50m, is in the reach above Caversham Lock, in an area called The Fishery. (Source: Terry’s Reading Walkabouts notes)

7. Caversham Court Gardens – Church Rd, Reading RG4 7AD – Leg 3

Caversham Court is a public garden, that originally contained a mansion, located on the north bank of the River Thames.  The park lies within the St Peter’s conservation area and is on the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, Grade II listed. The gardens form part of a series of riverside open spaces, managed by RBC, that stretch along either side of the River Thames throughout Reading. From west to east these are Thameside Promenade, Caversham Court, Christchurch Meadows, Hills Meadow, View Island and King’s Meadow.  Caversham Court Gardens contains information about the changing use of the site over the centuries in a walkway above the gazebo. (Source: Wikipedia page on Caversham Court)

8. Clayfield Copse – RG4 6RP – Leg 4

Clayfield Copse is a local nature reserve on the northern edge of Reading. The site is 8.65 hectares (21.4 acres) in size and is a natural open space consisting of fields, wildflower meadow and native woodlands adjoining the Oxfordshire countryside. Some of the woodland is being actively managed as hazel coppice, and traditional dead hedging defines some of the ancient woodland areas. The site is the only outcrop of London Clay north of the River Thames in Reading and makes up the southern tip of the Chiltern Hills. The nature reserve is under the management of Reading Borough Council.  Look out for a sculpture trail when you visit. (Source: Caroline Gratrix)

9. Reading Hydro community project Caversham Lock – RG4 6AA – Leg 1

Reading Hydro project uses Caversham Lock weir as its head of water. With 1.4 metres (4 ft 7 in), drop and average water flow of 37 cubic metres (1,300 cu ft) per second, it can generate 46 kilowatts (62 hp) of electricity with its twin archimedes screw turbines. The project is community owned and operated by the Reading Hydro CBS, a community benefit society founded in 2017. By 2018, planning permission had been granted and construction plans developed. Investment was raised through share offers to the local community; the scheme was officially opened on 13 August 2021. The turbine house has been decorated on two sides with a mural by Commando Jugendstil, entitled Community Energy, representing the scheme and the sustainable power the project generates.  (Source: Wikipedia page on Reading Hydro)

10. New (1932) Tilehurst Water Tower – RG31 4DR – Leg 2

Tilehurst Water Tower is the highest point in Reading Borough at 103 metres above sea level. The iconic “new” Water Tower was built in 1932 to supplement the Bath Road Water Tower and improve pressure. It can be seen for miles (esp., from the M4W). In November 2018 the tower was illuminated in poppy red to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.  It replaced the Tilehurst, Pangbourne & District Water Company Ltd red-brick water tower, that is at the top of Norcot, which in 2002 was converted into luxury apartments, that was 50ft high and is Grade II listed! (Source: Terry’s Reading Walkabouts notes)

11. Rosehill Park, Emmer Green – RG4 8XE – Leg 4

Rosehill House, standing in 14 acres of ground, was once part of Caversham Manor, the first building being erected in 1791. Martin John Sutton, of Sutton’s Seeds, lived there, the house then being called Kidmore Grange. In 1923 it was bought for the Oratory Preparatory School; then from the outbreak of the last war until 1958 it accommodated part of The Salvation Army‘s headquarters as staff were evacuated from central London. The house has since been converted into flats and a housing estate built on the grounds. (Source: Caroline Gratrix)

Last updated on 23/08/2022