Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. Regular walking leads to improved physical and psychological wellbeing and also provides an opportunity to meet new people. Walk for fun, fitness or simply to get away from it all with family or friends!

Family with buggies walking in Forbury park, Reading

Walking routes in Reading

Reading walking routes include:

  • Prestige walking routes (red) – busy areas of the town with high public space and street scene.
  • Primary walking routes (orange) – busy urban shopping areas and main pedestrian routes
  • Secondary walking routes (blue) -medium usage routes through local areas leading into primary routes
  • Link Footway (yellow)- low usage, short estate roads to main roads
  • Public Rights of Way (green) – a path that anyone has the legal right to cross by foot.

These walking routes in Reading can be found in the following maps:

Interactive online map

You can also plan your route in Reading using the Reading cycle and walking routes interactive map.

With this map you can:

  • view all up-to-date walking routes and interact with them to get more information
  • plan your journey by combining cycling and walking routes to key locations

Walking in Central Reading

Walking in Reading’s Town Centre reveals rich history and architecture. Places to walk and visit in the centre (see also map above) :

  1. Reading Town Hall and Reading Museum – Blagrave Street
  2. Forbury Gardens – The Forbury – Reading town centre’s Victorian green space with the famous Maiwand Lion statue
  3. Abbey Gateway – Abbott’s Walk – originally the inner gateway of Reading Abbey
  4. Reading Gaol – Forbury Road – built in 1842 operated until 2014 and famous by Oscar Wild imprisonment
  5. Reading Abbey Ruins – Abbey Street – ruins of 900 years of history of Reading’s royal abbey and burial place of King Henry I
  6. The Blade – Abbey Street – Reading’s most iconic modern building
  7. Mill Arch – Abbey Street – walls of the former Abbey mill (1100)
  8. Simeon Monument – Market Place – built in 1804
  9. The George Hotel – King Street – hotel and former coaching inn since 1500
  10.  Reading Minster – Chain Street – Church from late 11th Century

More information on  Abbey Quarter and Reading Town Hall here.

People walking by Maiwand lion at Forbury Park, Reading

Walks in nature

You can walk for leisure by the rivers and enjoy the nature reserves and large parks. A few recommended walks in nature:

  • Waterside walks in Reading –over 3 miles of parkland walks running along the River Thames
  • Waterloo Meadows urban park – situated alongside the River Kennet and within half a mile of Reading town centre
  • The Fobney Island Nature Reserve – a wetland reserve South of the town centre, between the River Kennet and the Kennet & Avon Canal
  • Prospect Park – Reading’s largest green space with miles of walking trails and woodland
  • The Maiden Erlegh Nature Reserve – on the outskirts of Reading with a lake and historic oak woodland
  • Sulham Wood – with fascinating walks that go through the countryside west of Tilehurst
  • Clayfield Copse – from the edge of Caversham Park, taking you into the countryside of Oxfordshire

The Countryside Code – applies to those visiting the countryside.

Geese taking flight along the Thames path, Reading

Led leisure walks

Once a month a leisure walk will take place in and around Reading with a free drink provided. Some on weekends and some on weekdays.

These led walks are free to the public, funded by the Council and run by Avanti Cycling.

There are also led cycle rides.

Get further details on led cycle walks and rides

Walking safely

The Highway Code – applies to pedestrians as well as to cyclists or motorists. For more information see the Highway Code rules for Pedestrians.

Below you will find some of the points illustrated in the Code:


  • Use pavements if provided (including any path along the side of a road)
  • If there is no pavement, keep to the right-hand side of the road so you can see the coming traffic
  • Help other road users see you by wearing something light-coloured
  • Walking with young children, keep between them and the traffic and hold their hands firmly
  • Large groups of people walking together – use a pavement if available; If none keep to the left and   have look-outs at the front and back of the group
  • Motorways. You must not be on motorways or slip roads except in an emergency

Crossing the road

  • Use a safe crossing where possible
  • Cross the roads following the Green Cross Code
  • At a junction – look out for traffic turning into the road, especially from behind you
  • Barriers – cross the road only at the gaps provided for pedestrians
  • Tactile paving – raised surfaces felt underfoot provide warning and guidance to blind or partially sighted people
  • Bus and cycle lane – take care in these lanes as traffic may be moving faster than in the other lanes, or against the flow of traffic

Helping the environment

Walking instead of using the car has many benefits for us and our environment, these include:

  • Reduces air pollution – which causes damage to our health and surroundings
  • Slowing climate change – car emissions are one of the predominant causes of greenhouse gases
  • Less noise pollution – noise produced by traffic causes damage to our health and affects local wildlife
  • Reducing traffic congestion – with less cars on the road, car journeys will be faster and easier
  • Strengthening the neighbourhood and local centres – using local shops, cafés rather than driving to ones further away
  • Creating demand for more green and traffic free spaces – more people walking encourages even more people to walk and dedication of more space to do this
Little boy on a scooter in a park

Health benefits of walking

Walking is one of the easiest ways of getting active for all ages and it has many benefits:

  • Improves health and fitness
  • Relieves stress and anxiety
  • Is great for your imagination
  • Helps you sleep better
  • Helps you think better
  • A good way to socialise

The easiest way to walk more is by making walking a habit – by including walking in your daily routine:

  • Walking as part of your journey to work
  • Using the stairs instead of the lift
  • Leaving the car behind for short journeys
  • Walking the children to school
  • Doing a regular walk with a friend
  • Going for a stroll after dinner

Developing Reading’s walking network

Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) – a sub-strategy to our emerging Reading Transport Strategy 2036, sets out ambitious plans to transform our streets and encourage more people to choose cycling and walking for local journeys, or as part of longer multimodal journeys.

Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) – is a sub-strategy to the Reading Transport Strategy 2036. This is a wide-ranging plan, covering all aspects of the management, maintenance and improvement of the Public Rights of Way network.

Further information

Walking groups and campaigns and further information online:

Last updated on 05/06/2024