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Another bit of the Jigsaw

By Bill Nicholls

Sunday the 22nd saw me go back to Newbury to find the final bit of the jigsaw that is the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton railway. My wife came along with our young dog to give him some time out to get used to a different place and water.
We parked at Newbury Parkway shopping centre which gave me a chance to update some photos of the new John Lewis store SU4767 : Open at Last by Bill Nicholls before setting off along the Kennet SU4767 : Footbridge by the Kennet by Bill Nicholls. As I had not been along this section it was all new to me and seeing all the narrowboats moored up was impressive SU4767 : Narrowboats at Newbury by Bill Nicholls. I seemed to be taking photos of everything I noticed SU4767 : A silly Coot by Bill Nicholls. What got me most was the number of marinas we seemed to pass including a dry dock. It was not long before I found what I had come to see. Not far from one of the footbridges I noticed a retaining wall which was part of the river bank SU4867 : My destination by Bill Nicholls then looking to the left I noticed a fence end made from old rail line SU4867 : Made from an old rail by Bill Nicholls and a little further along a second one. This would have marked the embankment boundary. Long back towards the A4 the area was very over grown with a pond. Seems to me Newbury could not wait to be rid of the rail embankment or traces that the railway came through this area. On the far side there was nothing to say there had been railway at all just buildings. SU4867 : The Far Bank by Bill Nicholls
We concluded out walk by going to the next lock where I got a few more photos SU4867 : Ham Lock by Bill NichollsSU4867 : Side of ham lock by Bill Nicholls, it was then back along the towpath to Parkway SU4867 : Heading downstream by Bill Nicholls SU4867 : Towards the town by Bill Nicholls. On the way back we stopped to watch some canoeists practising in a weir we had passed SU4767 : Canoeists by the weir by Bill Nicholls. They had a tutor who told them where to aim SU4767 : Into the stream by Bill Nicholls. One guy was picked out to try but seemed very reluctant to have a go looking rather apprehensive. Eventually he plucked up the courage to try only to fall back and try again. This time he got in the stream for a few seconds before going backwards and turning over. The guy tried to right himself unsuccessfully a few times but eventually righted. I was appalled as the nearest canoeist did not help and the instructor should have been more active, if it had been me I'd have jumped in to help SU4767 : Into the weir by Bill Nicholls. We walked off disgusted by what we had seen. After getting back to Parkway and a coffee I managed a few more photos before going home SU4767 : Looking very different now by Bill Nicholls SU4767 : Quiet Sunday by Bill Nicholls. My article can now be concluded though no doubt I will need to update it, though not before I have given a talk about it at work, I opened my big mouth and was asked to give a lunchtime lecture on the subject after I showed them what I had been doing.

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Fri, 27 Apr 2012 at 19:16
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