Tilehurst to Pangbourne 3.25 miles

Walk along path next to the Railway Line until the End of Reading Sign and sign for the Roabuck Hotel on the river

Climb the steps to the pedestrian bridge over the railway line follow to A329

Go into Skerritt Way, which you follow to the end of the road, where you come to Hazel Road.

Follow Hazel Road as it curves round, ignoring the two roads to the right and when you come to the end of the road turn right into New Hill.

Follow this road to the end, where you see the Thames Path sign pointing down Mapledurham Drive, marked “No Entry Residents Only”.

This takes you back to the river at Mapledurham Lock.

Mapledurham Lock

Originally built in 1777 the current one dates back to 1908.Oddly enough it is in Purley (right side of the river) as opposed to Mapledurham (wrong side of the river).  The history of the place seems to originally have related to the Mill at Mapledurham where the weir originates (first mentioned in the reign of Edward I).  This was linked to Mapledurham House, which in turn seems to have been a regular haunt of Alexander Pope because the randy goat fancied one of the daughters of the house!

Carry on til Whitchurch Bridge.

Whitchurch

The bridge is one of two remaining toll bridges across the Thames and was created by Whitchurch Bridge Act 1992 and arose from an idea by Robert Micklem, who with Samuel Gardiner and Vanderstegen.. The original proprietors grew to ten in number by the time the Act was passed to take over the ferry rights and to build at their own costs “a good and substantial bridge” which was described as being “of great utility and advantage to the public”. In return for their investment the Proprietors were given the right to charge tolls.

Pangbourne

Apart from the Old Dear being resident in Pangbourne as a result of the evacuation of the Royal Vet College during the war (no self-management by Joe Willy apparently she was born at the Battle in Reading – they weren’t that short of midwives or no wicket keeping gloves were available or summat).  Apparently this is the place that Jimmy Page was living when he was visited by Robert Plant in 1968, Led Zeppelin were to follow.  Kenneth Grahame was also a resident after his son Alastair’s suicide in 1920. The Wind in the Willows was written and published when he was a Cookham resident in 1908.  Other than that the only other things of not is the place is named after the River Pang…. yep you have one of the countries foremost rivers running through the place and you name it after a tributary of it.  Can’t work out if that is a stroke of awkward genius or just bloody stupid!

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