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Thatcham on the K&A
Thatcham has history and nature reserves and has rivalled with Newbury for hundreds of years, a pub within 5 minutes of the canal and essential shops within a short walk. And no the name is not believed to be derived from thatchers…one of two remaining grass lined locks and the longest straight on the whole of the K&A surely worth a visit!
More about Aldermaston Wharf in Berkshire

Thatcham a sub-urban sprawl and the oldest continuously inhabited community in Britain…Thatcham with modern development can seem indistinct from Newbury but over a long history they have essentially been very different communities. Thatcham is in the Guiness Book of records for being the oldest community that has been continuously inhabited. A history that goes back some 7700 years BC and where as well as it’s Mesolithic origins there is evidence of Iron Bronze Iron and Roman Settlements, there is more to Thatcham  than its suburban red-brick development and sprawl…The name has saxon roots from the name for a willage, Taceham, survived as such beyond the Norman conquest eventually altered to Thatcham.


Traces of the history still exist, Thatcham Church was founded in the 7th century by St Birinius and the Old Blue Coat school building is actually a small chapel that dates back to the 14th century.

At the time of the Norman conquest, Thatcham was second only in importance to Windsor in the Berkshire Hundreds and constituent manors.Thatcham continued to rival with Newbury but suffered badly during the Black death which decimated its community and hence it never really then recovered its status.

Nature Reserves and Area of Ecological Significance
The area north of the canal that runs parallel to the A4 road is an area of ecological importance. Reed and Sedge Warblers and rare butterflies thrive in unique wetland habitats of lake and reed-bed combined. There is the Nature Discovery Centre close to Widmead Lock that is well worth a visit for nature enthusiasts. 

Notable canal points of interest include Long Cut and Monkey Marsh Lock
Long cut is the Longest Straight on the K&A and Monkey Marsh Lock one of the last 2 remaining examples of grass lined locks.

The centre of town is quite a walk from the Canal as you can see from the Map but essential amenities are a short walk including shops post office and essentials. The Swan Hotel is the nearest pub with more in the town centre and some restaurants Indian/Chinese and takeaways if you want to have a change and not cook for yourselves.

Checkout our posts on the details of more about Thatcham. Locks will be added over time but as checkpoints to your map here are some navigation pointers and a summary of what to look out for:

Navigation Notes
Approach from Colthrop via Midgham  Lock 92 and Colthrop Lock 91, you have arrived in Thatcham when you then pass under Thatcham Bridge. A little further along is where Marsh Monkey Lock 90 is located and it is there you will find the Swan Inn on the Thatcham side of the canal.  From Widmead Lock 89 you can access the nature reserve and Discovery Nature Centre by foot. Bull’s Lock 88 and Swing Bridge is really the border between Thatcham and Newbury and it is there the railway crosses the canal.

Latest features from the K&A

Bull’s Lock 88 K&A Bull’s Lock 88 is after Widmead Lock 89 and before Ham Lock 87 [more]

Widmead Lock 89 K&A Widmead Lock 89 is after Monkey Marsh Lock 90 and before Bull’s Lock 88. [more]

Thatcham 14th Century chapel known as Old Bluecoats School Berkshire [more]

A short walk north from Midgham Lock over the Midgham Bridge and you can enjoy a drink and a bite at the Coach and Horses. Link for details of the p[more]

Click for how to user online maps to navigate through the guide, or select from our route destinations to find out more…

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Why not try the River Thames?
Why not try a river trip by canal boat heading out from Reading to Oxford and Lechlade or upstream to the capital towards Windsor and London…Try our River Thames Guide