Rivers
Canoeing and Kayaking on : River Kennet

Paddle Point

River left as river bens right below weir pool.

Flagged as Still a hazard
Flagged as Still a hazard
Flagged as Still a hazard
Flagged as Still a hazard
Paddle Point

Although old and unmaintained, twin strands of stanchion-mounted barbed wire across all arches on upstream side of Eddington Bridge present a potentially severe hazard when the river is at paddleable levels.


Full set of images and conditions report at http://riverkennet.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/eddington-bridge-hungerford-hazard-to.html
Paddle Point

Please note that once committed to the river above Brimpton Mill there is no public access to the banks until you get down to Woolhampton (which makes the very low Bailey Bridge on the downstream Wasing Estate a problem).

Paddle Point
Thatcham, West Berkshire, UK

The footbridge is too low to get under at high water levels. See S-D-Williams' hazard warning for this run dated 15/12/12. In early Jan.2013 the footbridge was damaged by an in-river tree strike. Whilst the river was out of its banks the bridge could be paddled past river right.

Not a problem today but lowish water levels
Paddle Point
Reading, UK

Put-in below weir river right. Please note that there has been substantial remodelling of the river as part of the Fobney Island Wetland Nature Reserve. Please see here for paddling levels: http://riverkennet.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/paddling-past-fobney-island-very.html

Paddle Point

At high river levels this footbridge may present a solid obstacle. There is no public access to the land either side of the river here. Note that there is at least one more footbridge downstream of this point before the Bailey Bridge is reached. This section of the river also suffers from frequent tree falls.

Paddle Point

At high water levels this bridge may present a hazard. This section has no public access from either bank and suffers frequent tree blockages.

Paddle Point

Even at normal water levels the supporting side structures of this metal bridge present a hazard. Note that there is no public access to either bank at this point although the bridge itself carries a public footpath.

Paddle Point
Devizes, Wiltshire, UK

6.2 miles from Devizes to All Cannings. First Meet

Paddle Point

Wooton Rivers to Crofton (bridge) 8 locks.

Paddle Point
All Cannings, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10, UK

All Cannings to Pewsey Wharf Meet 2

Paddle Point

Pewsey Wharf to Wooton Rivers. Meet 3 (3.1 miles)

Paddle Point
Reading, UK

Brim full in 2009:

Paddle Point

Go for the bacon butties!

Paddle Point
Newbury, West Berkshire, UK

A fun little circuit, extended down to the next lock, that only takes an hour or so.

The Northcroft stream is surprisingly fast flowing, and you do need to be able to navigate your craft through overhanging trees in the flow.

There is one low pipe to avoid, one lock portage, and one weir portage.

Paddle Point

Still there
Paddle Point
Newbury, West Berkshire, UK

Paddle Point
Newbury, West Berkshire, UK

This weir is easy to portage on river left across grass, though the put in to the weir pool below is quite high so some may prefer to fight through the trees a few yards downstream!

The Northcroft Stream flows from here down to the canal again in Newbury town centre. This is an excellent little section of flowing river, but as it has quite a lot of low trees and a surprisingly fast flow, some care is required. There is a low pipe half way down which it may not be possible to get under. I guess this might be one of the few bits of river round here worth grading - Grade 1! A few eddies behind trees allow you to play at eddy turns and breaking in and out.


The lower section has a few slalom gates hanging in it, and can be reached by paddling back upstream from the town lock.
The low pipe is still there but can be maneovered under.
Paddle Point
Newbury, West Berkshire, UK

Its reasonably easy to put in just below the footbridge and is a shorted portage from putting in at the weir upstream.

Parking at the leisure centre.


Paddle Point
Newbury, West Berkshire, UK

Access to water from back of car park. Can be overgrown.

There is a pipe across the river just below here, and it may be worth putting in below it, depending on water level.

Paddle Point
Newbury, West Berkshire, UK

Depending on the water level, getting under this pipe may or may not "go". If not, it is reasonably easily climbed over on the left bank.
Flagged as Still a hazard
Water level is still very high - not passable!
Still a problem and could be more of an issue given higher water levels
Paddle Point
Newbury, West Berkshire, UK

You may or may not be able to get a canoe under the swing bridge!

Easily portaged.

Paddle Point
Newbury, West Berkshire, UK

Paddle Point
Newbury, West Berkshire, UK

Probably more fun too slide down from the canal above,it's normally just a very small wave, but be cautious in very high water as the weir discharges straight into a steel-shuttered wall before being forced 90 degrees to the left.
Paddle Point
Newbury, West Berkshire, UK

Paddle Point
Newbury, West Berkshire, UK

Upstairs of building houses the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Newbury branch meeting room with a display of canal history.

Tea room open daily 09:00 to 16:30.

Paddle Point
Newbury, West Berkshire, UK

Paddle Point
Newbury, West Berkshire, UK

Occasional wave to surf - needs high river levels before the sluices are opened sufficiently.

Closest parking in Newbury FC.

See here http://riverkennet.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/kennet-whitewater.html for more.

Paddle Point updated to a Play Spot
Paddle Point
Newbury, West Berkshire, UK

Next to tow-path, watch out for discarded junk in the water.

Paddle Point
Newbury, West Berkshire, UK

Paddle Point
Thatcham, West Berkshire, UK

A quiet detour away from the canal cut. A circular route can be made by either a) paddling up the canal section from Thatcham (2 portages at locks), and then returning via the riverine loop, or b) paddling the loop down from Newbury and then back along the canal.



put in by swing bridge

Paddle Point
Thatcham, West Berkshire, UK

This loop looks lovely but I've never done a weir before (complete beginner). I have a 2-man Sevylor Colorado. Can you portage around this or should I just stop worrying and go for it?
Matt, sorry for the belated response. This picture is a close up of a very small weir. You shouldn't have any problem running it in your inflatable, even at this level which is about as big a drop as it gets. Just float up to the weir (usually best towards the left side as there's a bit more of a channel there (lots of overhanging trees on the right), and then add a couple of leisurely paddle strokes so you are moving just a little faster than the water (keep paddling as you go over and look ahead to where you are going), and then you'll laugh at how you even questioned portaging. Last time I paddled it with my wife and daughter in kayaks the water level was higher so I had to 'bounce' my boat over the concrete lip (much to the amusement of my nearest and dearest). If you wanted to portage around the weir you'd need to take out on the upstream right bank of the canalised section along a private fishing track and then get in below the weir where there are some rock groynes placed to stop scouring of the bank as the river turns sharply to the left. The left bank above the weir is far too overgrown to portage, but it's really not necessary. If for some strange reason you fell out, keep in mind that it's really shallow in the center of the river (see 10th picture in the second link below) and for this reason please avoid the gravels in fish spawning season (March to August). Hope this helps, and post some pics if you run this section. For more info see http://riverkennet.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/river-kennet-loop-at-chamberhouse-farm.html and http://riverkennet.blogspot.co.uk/2008/12/2-kennet-at-thatcham.html. Alternatively, you might want to look at paddling in a loop on the river from just above Padworth Bridge down to Ufton, and then back up along the canalised Kennet Navigation. Happy paddling (and watch out for signs of Otters in muddy bank margins and buzzards mewing from above the escarpment to the south) on this beautiful and peaceful section of the river.
thanks so much for all that information - really appreciated! Great timing too as we are going to do this in the morning. We're going to head to Woolhampton (or further) and will take my boy next time. Would be great to see an Otter!
Great paddle at the weekend. I would definitely recommend this to anyone wanting to progress from the canal! You were right, the weir was easy, and I will be taking my boy next time. The slight current made the route great fun. We had to nudge carefully round a flock of swans and watched a snake swim across the river right in front of us! Thank you so much for documenting this route, I look forward to many more trips along this river.
The weir was pretty claggy this afternoon with a fair bit of debris pinned against it. :(
Paddle Point
Thatcham, West Berkshire, UK

Low bridges on this route are currently making this loop very difficult to navigate. (15/12/12)

Flagged as Still a hazard
Still pretty hazardous - paddle up through Thatcham Station to Chamberhouse Farm this morning - couldn't progress further upstream than Chamberhouse as flow rate was too fast where it narrows between two overhanging willows causing a strainer and increasing flow rate significantly! The rusty iron bridge was just passable - dodgy, but doable. I'd imagine that, with the height it was running at through the lower end, the top end will be high also.
Flagged as Still a hazard
Paddle Point
Thatcham, West Berkshire, UK

Very low bridge be aware during high water this may be impassable.

More spacious to the left of the fallen beam.
Local angler shouted that this section of the river is not navigable.
Just about passable today - the fallen beam gives you slightly more width BUT, get the angle right as the flow direction and the squeeze between the beams aren't alligned and, with a flow like today, can pin you as you exit!
Bags of space under the bridge today - quite a lot of over hanging branches before/after the bridge though!

And some pretty epic spiders underneath! :)
No problem today
Paddle Point
Thatcham, West Berkshire, UK

One of only two remaining working examples of turf sided locks on the canal (the other being Garston Lock).

Paddle Point
Thatcham, West Berkshire, UK

Provides tow-path access to/from bottom of the Chamberhouse loop.

Paddle Point
Thatcham, West Berkshire, UK

Paddle Point

Requires portaging via footpath to the left of the weir.

Paddle Point
Woolhampton, Reading, West Berkshire RG7, UK

Paddle Point

Low-bridged weir to Kennet side channel. Requires portage.

Paddle Point

Sluiced weir. No way through and no portage available.

Paddle Point

Use one of the fishing access points river left (north bank) to avoid breaking down vegetation.

Paddle Point

The collapsed end of this WWII POW-built bridge has now been removed.

Paddle Point

Probably not for canoes but possible with care in kayaks.

Paddle Point

Tree fall from right bank which has been there since at least 2008; there doesn't seem to be much effort from the riparian owner to remove it, probably because it's a popular fishing feature. In the winter it just gathers additional debris, but it has some life in and sprouts in the summer. Just passable with care (towards the left), caution required at higher flows.


Flagged as Still a hazard
Flagged as Still a hazard
Flagged as Still a hazard
Flagged as Still a hazard
Flagged as Still a hazard
Paddle Point

Above the sluiced weir at Shenfield Mill:

Paddle Point

YouTube Barbel Bar for examples of use.

Variable small waves off a crump weir.
Video of Barbel Bar with 0.35m on the gauge...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P7Any0UJGk
Paddle Point

There is actually a weir underneath all the collected debris:

Paddle Point

Requires portaging to right of weir.

Paddle Point
Reading, UK

Paddle Point
Reading, UK

Deep sawtoothed weir - portage left (and cross bridge) or right to return to river right downstream.

Paddle Point
Reading, UK

Paddle Point
Reading, UK

Easy learning play spot in the middle of Reading. Weir occasionally washes out during v. high flows.
Paddle Point
Reading, UK

Portage point to avoid Blake's Weir (upstream river left) and Blake's lock (downstream):