Tag Archives: Kennet and Avon Canal

Storm Eunice damage along the Kennet & Avon Canal in West Berkshire

After one of the worst storms in decades hit the south of England including West Berkshire with storm Eunice on Friday 18/Feb/2022 there was a lot of damage. When I write this on Saturday afternoon the village of Aldermaston (just over a mile down the road from where I write this in Aldermaston Wharf) still hasn’t got any power and might not get it back until late in the evening or potentially even Sunday. I know of at least two trees having come down and having hit houses in Aldermaston Wharf, luckily as far as I’m aware nobody was injured (and I believe there was no serious damage to the houses). This morning I went out for my regular daily walk (slightly extended as it is Saturday, where I usually go on a longer walk than on weekdays), here is some of the storm damage I spotted along the way:

One of the first things I saw was also one of the scariest, a quite large tree had fallen across the canal and the top of the tree had hit a moored canal boat (Pictures 01 & 02). The owners had already cleared most of the tree off the boat and as far as I could see there was no significant damage to the boat itself, only the solar panels were rather smashed up.

Not very far down the canal along a field with cows and sheep there was more damage: Three smaller trees had been snapped off (I suspect the wind had enough space to run up across the field and hit them hard) and were pretty much blocking the towpath (pictures 03, 04 &11). I managed to squeeze past two of them, for the third one I had to climb over the fence for a short ‘detour’ across the field (luckily the cows with their calves were far away, so it was safe). Luckily I didn’t have to do that when I returned about an hour later as kind boater had taken his chainsaw to the trees and cleared the towpath.

After that it wasn’t too bad on the towpath, of course there was branch debris pretty much everywhere, but there wasn’t really any blockage. The fallen trees were either away from the towpath or left enough room to get past them without much difficulty (Pictures 05, 08, 09 & 10).

But my walk was stopped by a fallen tree just before where I usually turn around anyway on my longer weekend walks. While I just managed to squeeze past the first tree (Picture 06) the second one, a large tree covered in Ivy, fully blocked the path (Picture 07) and I couldn’t find a way past it. So I turned around and walked back to Aldermaston Wharf.

Just before arriving back home I couldn’t resist the obligatory fallen fence picture (Picture 12), I believe that’s a standard for after the storm pictures. Interestingly the fence at the communal garden below my flat was swaying precariously yesterday, I think at least one of the posts is pretty much gone. So far it’s still holding up, but will it survive the next storm?

Autumn colours along the Kennet & Avon Canal in West Berkshire

Having decided not to travel to Islay because of the Covid-19 pandemic this year I had a two week staycation at home in West Berkshire. Unfortunately the weather didn’t turn out as nice as I had hoped, so I didn’t get out for walks as much as I had thought (I ended up visiting a Swedish furniture store and completing some home improvements I had thought about for a while instead). Still, I managed to squeeze in a few short sunny walks along the Kennet & Avon Canal allowing me to take a few nice autumnal pictures (click on the pictures for the full size gallery):

Except for the first picture (which is from my flat overlooking the canal in Aldermaston Wharf) all the pictures are from the towpath from Aldermaston Wharf walking west towards Woolhampton. Some really nice autumnal colours around, especially over the second week. All the pictures were taken with my large wide angle zoom lens (14-24mm, mostly towards the 14mm), allowing me to capture some big views of the trees and their autumn colours.

I hope you’ll enjoy the pictures and the colours.

Grass Snake going for a swim on the canal

Having only taken pictures from my windows for a few weeks I ventured out along the Kennet and Avon Canal when the lockdown restrictions were eased a bit. I stopped near Frouds Lane to try to take a few pictures of birds crossing the canal. That wasn’t very successful. I was just about to leave when I got lucky, although not with a bird. I noticed some motion on the other side of the canal and suddenly a Grass Snake swimming across the canal came into view:

I must admit I didn’t know that snakes can swim until I saw this one doing it. This snake had to cross the canal twice (and did it quite easily it seems): It came across only to realise that on the other side was a retaining wall about 2 ft high, so it couldn’t get out. It had a brief look, then turned around and swam back where it disappeared into the undergrowth (no wall on that side). The tongue was nicely visible several times and the head nicely reflected/mirrored on the water. I hope you like and enjoy these pictures. I certainly enjoyed the moment and watching the snake.

Cat on the towpath

As you probably know the internet was invented to share cat pictures on blogs and social media. During today’s Sunday morning walk (with a mixture of sunshine and clouds) I came across this cat. It was quite friendly and photogenic, so I took a few pictures which I’m now sharing here:

Click on the pictures for the larger version.

Sunny summer Sunday morning walk in West Berkshire

With some nice early morning sunshine and clouds forecasted for late morning and the afternoon I decided to head out for an early walk today. What was originally planned for a 1-2 hours stroll turned into a 3 hours walk as the sunshine held up longer than forecasted and I discovered a few footpaths I hadn’t used before. My route took me from Aldermaston Wharf via Mill Lane to Home Farm near Padworth College. I then followed the road south until the junction before backtracking to Upper Church Farm, where I took the footpath west towards Aldermaston. Reaching the road a short stretch along the road, then turning north again on the footpath towards Fisherman’s Lane. On Fisherman’s Lane back towards Padworth Mill. A short stretch on Mill Lane before taking the footpath over to Padworth Lock. Then back to Aldermaston Wharf along the Kennet and Avon Canal. A few impressions from my walk:

Click on the pictures for the larger version in a gallery. The map for the area is:

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