Walk Distance: 1.9km
Walk Duration: 40 mins at a slow amble, allow an hour for a snail-paced, puddle jumping toddler!
OS Map: OS Explorer 171 Chiltern Hills West or OS Landranger 175 Reading & Windsor: however the permissive path used here is not shown on the OS Map and the route is very simple and easy to follow, and well signposted within Loddon Nature Reserve.
Suitable for: Babies in carriers, toddlers, all the family and dogs on leads. In theory you could get an all-terrain pushchair round the path in the summer months but it’s not ideal, impassable due to heavy mud after wet weather and the paths/board walks are a bit narrow.
Walk features: Nature reserve, lakeside walking and plenty of wildfowl, pub with good beer garden, plenty of cafes in nearby Twyford, passing trains for Thomas the Tank Engine fans! , benches, option to extend walk to Dinton Pastures.
Loddon Nature Reserve just outside Twyford is a peaceful spot for a short, easy walk with the family, with the quiet being broken only by passing trains on the railway which backs the Twyford side of the lake. Loddon Nature Reserve is located on the site of a former gravel pit, now flooded and a perfect haven for wildfowl and wildlife of all variety. Herons, moorhens, coots and even crested grebes are regular visitors, cormorants have been known to hang out here over winter and the woody surrounds of the lake are home to bats and many species of birds,butterflies, dragonflies and insects.
Loddon Nature Reserve is a great option for Twyford based parents to take the kids for a quick blast to burn off energy after school, to grab some fresh air on a murky day or like me, to take a short walk in those early days with a very new baby. Dogs are welcome so long as they are kept on a lead (it is a nature reserve after all) . The walk is on earth paths and boardwalks. The paths can get pretty muddy in the winter (wellies are advised) and can be a bit of a challenge at these times for the very youngest walkers who may get frustrated with their slow, squelching progress but it’s not a long walk and there are plenty of benches en route to take a break and admire the view.
The Loddon Nature Reserve walk is circular, following the Wildlife Trust’s permissive path around the lake. You can start the walk either from the Waggon and Horses pub car park just outside Twyford, as described here, or from central Twyford via the public footpath from Weavers Way. If you are feeling more adventurous, this walk is also a good start or end point for a much longer wander down to and round Dinton Pastures.
The advantage of starting the walk from the Waggon and Horses pub in Twyford of course means a good excuse to stop for a drink afterwards (as tried and tested by yours truly) in its excellent large child friendly beer garden, complete with aviary full of noisy cockatiels and a large wooden kids wendy house. I’ve not tried the food there but they do cater for lunch and dinner and have a kids menu.
Starting from the Waggon and Horses pub car park, the entrance to Loddon Nature Reserve is via the small footbridge at its rear. Cross over the bridge and walk through the gate before taking the permissive path to your right. Follow the lake anti-clockwise around its perimeter on the well trodden path and boardwalks, following the permissive path signs.
About half way around the lake you can drop down briefly to walk on the wildlife trail to the side of lake before returning to the main path. Just beyond here you will pass the turn off for the footpath passing under the railway bridge which leads to Dinton Pastures.
Continue along the main path. When it divides, those returning to the Waggon and Horses pub should follow the permissive footpath Wildlife Trail signs (keeping to the lake edge and the left hand path). The path follows back to the Waggon and Horses pub car park.
Those heading into central Twyford should follow the public footpath on the right hand path. The latter joins the side of the River Loddon before crossing over a footbridge to the right by the Weavers Way housing development and leading up some steps to the road and pavement beyond. Exit the housing estate onto the Old Bath Road and turn right following the pavement into central Twyford.
Map of Route:
The walk starts from the back of the Waggon & Horses pub car park,Twyford or alternatively from Weavers Way (follow the public footpath sign) off the Old Bath Road in Twyford. N.b. Street parking is for residents only on Weavers Way.
Parking in Twyford is tricky and car parks can get busy. If you are planning on stopping for some food or a drink in the pub after your walk, then I would recommend using the Waggon and Horses car park for the most convenient parking. Otherwise there is a public car park at Polehampton Close (by Twyford public library) from which it is a few minutes stroll along pavements to Weavers Way and the entrance to the Nature Reserve via the marked public footpath. Parking costs 60p for two hours and can be paid with cash or via mobile phone.
For those travelling by public transport, Loddon Nature Reserve is an easy walk from both Twyford Railway station and the centre of Twyford, which is easily accessible by bus from Reading. Please visit Transport Direct or Traveline for public transport journey planners.
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