How to get there -
Theale is at Junction 12 of the M4 and the launch site is just over a mile from this junction.
From the M4 turn south onto the A4. At the first roundabout turn left and follow the signs for the station which will involve turning right at the next two roundabouts and left at the third. You will immediately pass over the railway and will shortly come to a narrow bridge (controlled by traffic lights) over a branch of the river Kennet. Immediately after this you will pass over the navigable channel.
Turn left into the public car park. There is a height restriction at the entrance so be careful if you have your canoe on the roof. We had no problem but you will need to check for yourself.
For those with SatNav a nearby postcode is RG7 4AJ.
Get a map with driving directions to start
(enter the postcode of your starting point at A)
Suggested Launch Site -
Park at the far side of the car park from where you can see the lock a short walk away. You can launch from the towpath at either end of the lock. We launched to the left of the lock and travelled south.
This section of the Kennet & Avon navigation consists largely of the River Kennet and is therefore characterised by a series of nearby weirs and short canalised sections at the locks as the river joins and leaves the navigation. There are a number of mechanised swing bridges carrying roads over the navigation but we had no difficulty getting under these with appropriate care.
This stretch of the river is delightfully rural with many distinctive blue dragonflies (our trip was in June). There are locks every mile or so but we had no problems portaging from the low towpath. It's up to you when you turn round. The Canal Centre at Aldermaston Wharf is three or four miles away to the south (four locks) and teas, ice creams etc. are available here.