Places of Interest
Ufton Court is a beautiful Elizabethan Manor House set in 16 acres of picturesque, secluded grounds.
Some of the present house dates from the 15th century, including the crossway of the great hall with the original buttery and pantry doors. It was largely rebuilt by the Perkins family in 1567. The Perkins were well known Catholics who were persecuted by local magistrates in the 16th century. They had to pay heavy fines for refusing to attend the parish church, and Ufton Court was raided at least twice by officials looking for priests in hiding. Some hiding places and a small fortune were found in 1599, but the priests had gone. The famous Ufton Bread Dole is distributed every year from a certain window at the Court. Lady Elizabeth Marvyn, widow of Richard Perkins, left the money for the dole in her will (1581) in thanks for local people helping her find her way home after getting lost in some nearby woods. The Perkins finally sold up in 1802.
Dole Day, Open Day
Ufton Court is now home to the Ufton Court Educational Trust, a charity which uses the unique house and grounds of Ufton Court to challenge and inspire young people, especially those affected by disadvantage.
The site is let for weddings and residential groups to help fund the charitable activities.
For more details about Ufton Court and the activities it hosts please see their website by clicking this link.
Ufton Woods form part of the Englefield Estate. The entire estate covers approximately 14,000 acres in North Hampshire and Berkshire. It consists of farmland, forestry, residential and commercial property.
Ufton Woods are located near the village of Ufton Nervet and consists of 450 acres of mixed woodland. These woods are available for public access.
For more information on Englefield Estate, please visit their website at:
Thames Valley Police Training Centre and Force Museum
Thames Valley Police has a small museum situated in the historic White House at Sulhamstead which is now used as the Force Training Centre.
The museum includes information and artefacts relating to the history of Thames Valley Police and its predecessor forces of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Oxford City and Reading Borough. The museum's collections include items relating to the Great Train Robbery of 1963, exhibits from specialist departments, uniforms, equipment, medals, photographs and scenes of crime evidence as well as occurrence and charge books.
The museum is open by appointment only, although it is available on Wednesdays to the general public without an appointment or charge between the hours of 10:00 and 12:00 (conditions apply). To arrange an appointment at the museum please contact the curator on 01865 846578. Museum staff are also able to accommodate visits from schools and other youth organisations and on request are able to give talks to local organisations for a small fee. As well as visits and talks, the curator and his team of volunteers will conduct basic research into historical police records for individuals (a nominal fee will apply).
For more details and information relating to museum, its services and charges please visit the museum webpage at: http://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/aboutus/aboutus-museum.htm
Kennet and Avon Canal
The Kennet and Avon Canal connects the Thames at Reading to the Severn Estuary near Bristol. It was formed by linking two river navigations together by constructing a canal between Newbury and Bath. The two river navigations, the River Kennet Navigation and the River Avon Navigation, both of which were canalised, were completed in the early eighteenth century. The linking canal from Newbury to Bath was completed in 1810 and allowed barges to navigate across the country from the Bristol Channel to London.
After initial commercial success, trade declined due to competition from the railway which practically follows the same route. By 1930 commercial traffic had virtually ceased and by the early 1950's the canal was derelict and finally closed.
In 1962 the Kennet and Avon Trust was formed to restore the entire canal from Reading to Bristol. The work was completed and the canal re-opened in 1990. There is a visitor centre operated by the trust at Aldermaston Wharf.
The distance from Reading to the Severn Estuary is over 100 miles and includes over 100 locks.
Locally the waterway is a mixture of canal and river sections with a well maintained towpath ideal for walking and cycling.
For more information please visit the following websites:
The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust: http://www.katrust.org/
Canal Junction: http://www.canaljunction.com/canal/kennet_avon.htm
British Waterways: http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/home/index.html