Boat Hire

Newbury and return from Aldermaston Wharf - 3 Nights

Cruising Time Per Day 5hrs • Total Locks 22


Aldermaston to Newbury – past Thatcham to Newbury and back – 3 nights – total locks 22 (11 x 2)

This gentle cruise will lead you on a journey into ancient history rivalling Stonehenge, skirting Civil War battlefields and a peace camp, and taking the time to spot wildlife and wading birds.


A mile and a half from the base and visitor centre at Aldermaston Wharf, the pretty village of Aldermaston is worth exploring if your itinerary allows. Now-flooded former gravel pits to the south of the canal are the perfect opportunity for a little wildlife-spotting as you head westwards along the Kennet & Avon Canal. A series of swing bridges and well-spaced locks will then keep your crew busy until you reach Thatcham.

To the south of Thatcham, Monkey Marsh Lock is a scheduled ancient monument and is one of only two remaining turf-sided locks in the country (the other is Garston Lock at Theale, to the east of Aldermaston). Thatcham once held the Guinness World Record as the oldest continually occupied settlement in Britain, but this title was usurped in 2014 when carbon dating of bones found in the parish of Amesbury (which includes Stonehenge) pipped Thatcham to the post by 1,000 years (Amesbury since 8,820BC and Thatcham since 7,700BC!).

A short walk north of Widmead Lock, Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre by Thatcham Lake adjoins the internationally important Thatcham Reedbeds nature reserve. The reserve and lake attract all types of wildlife and birds all year round, including wildfowl and waders, and a bird hide gives you the chance to bird-spot across the reed beds. Thatcham Reedbeds SSSI , also a Special Area for Conservation (SAC) and covering over 165 acres, is the largest continual area of reedbed and fen in Berkshire and inland southern England.

Shortly beyond Thatcham, Newbury Wharf was the original terminus of the Kennet Navigation and the historic market town of Newbury is a picturesque place to do a spot of sightseeing. This former cloth town became very wealthy from the cloth trade, and was also noted in the Civil War for two important battle sites, one of which holds the dubious title as one of the War’s bloodiest.

More recently, Newbury was renowned for the Greenham Common Peace Camp outside the huge military airbase which was a few miles to the southeast of the town. In April 1983, 70,000 women created a human chain which stretched 14 miles, all the way from Greenham to Aldermaston and onward to an ordnance factory at Burghfield. Although the last nuclear missiles were removed from the Greenham base in 1991, women remained at the camp to protest against the forthcoming Trident programme until 2000.

Once you have explored Newbury, it's time to turn round and enjoy your journey back to Aldermaston Wharf from a different viewpoint.


The following are examples of the boats that you can hire from ABC Boat Hire at Aldermaston Wharf:


Alvechurch Weaver - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 49ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Bunting - For a maximum of 5 people, 2+3 Berth, Length 47ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Bunting - For a maximum of 5 people, 2+3 Berth, Length 47ft, Cruiser Stern

Reading Ufton - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 62ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Dove - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 60ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Gull - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Eagle (6 berth) - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+3 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Thrush - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Eagle (7 berth) - For a maximum of 7 people, 4+3 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Woodpecker - For a maximum of 8 people, 4+4Berth, Length 60ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Woodpecker - For a maximum of 8 people, 4+4Berth, Length 60ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Warbler - For a maximum of 8 people, 6 + 2 Berth, Length 69ft, Semi-Traditional Stern

Alvechurch Owl - For a maximum of 10 people, 6+4 Berth, Length 70ft, Crusier Stern

Alvechurch Swan - For a maximum of 12 people, 8+4 Berth, Length 70ft, Crusier Stern



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