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24 September 2014
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OUTDOORS
You are in: Berkshire > Outdoors > Thames Travelling > Stage 8
Sonning Lock Keeper's cottage
Sonning Lock Keeper's cottage
Thames Travelling
The Bishop's Palace is steeped in history but is quite tricky to see from the Thames towpath.
You'll see the grounds as you approach Sonning Bridge.
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Trees and terraces

After passing Sonning Lock, look for the grounds of the old Bishop's Palace, Holme Park, on the right. The grounds rise up away from the river, but are not a good indication of the natural sloping terrace due to manmade intervention.

A Holme Oak tree can be seen, that is around 200 years old. The tree is not a native to Britain and its non-deciduous which means it keeps its leaves during winter.

Yew
Holme Oak in grounds of Bishop's Palace

Notable visitors to the Bishops Palace were King John in 1251 and Edward the Black Prince.

The palace was already falling into disrepair when Queen Elizabeth bought it in 1574.

Follow path until you reach Sonning Bridge. Looking across the river, the flat area in front of Caversham Park, and now largely Caversham park Village, is the so-called Taplow Terrace (between about 30–50 feet; 9–15m above the river).

Although the upper terraces (actually correctly known as the Boyn Hill and Lynch Hill Terraces) have yielded large numbers of artefacts the gravels of the Taplow Terrace have few, and mostly in a river-worn condition (possibly derived by erosion from older deposits). They are even rarer in the younger gravels of the present floodplain.

These gravels now have Thames Valley Business Park built upon them, one of the many companies sited there being British Gas, who provide North Sea gas to the UK market.

As we approach Sonning, the path runs at the foot of a 70–100ft (20–30m) high plateau. This spur, which separates the Thames and Loddon valleys, comprises Cretaceous age Upper Chalk, overlain by Tertiary age Reading Beds and younger London Clay.

MANY THANKS TO PROFESSOR BRUCE SELLWOOD OF READING UNIVERSITY FOR ALL OF HIS HELP WITH THIS WALK

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Netley Shoreline Walk
Wallingford Wander
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More walks through time and amazing wildlife.
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Snail
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with the Open University.
bullet point Get active - the Great Snail Hunt
bullet point What does that mean? - a natural history glossary
bullet point Get into nature - the science you need to know
bullet point How do they know that? - explore nature's secrets
bullet point Become a Landscape Detective - Free Leaflets!

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