Sunday, 28 June 2015

Mapledurham House and Water Mill.

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We chose to visit on one of the days there was an event. Yesterday it was a falconry day and we saw many birds of prey. The Falconry day was put in by Extreme Falconry, who are based in Dorset. I have seen several birds of prey shows but this company was, by far, the most knowledgeable and entertaining. The owner has been in the business for 40 years so really knows his stuff. Their website is here. They are currently trying to raise £5,000 for a bird hospital. My children enjoyed the 'show' as much as myself and my husband. 

Mapledurham is off the A4174 between Crowmarsh and Reading, much nearer to Reading. The road to the house is quite long and down windy country roads; you may feel you are lost but you won't be. When you arrive you can pay by card but this involves a call to the restaurant and a walk to its till. 

The house is not open all the time. Please check here

The house and water mill are on the Thames. Mapledurham is right next to Caversham and across the river from Purley on Thames, although there is no bridge to get across to Purley. The mill is the only working water mill on the Thames. It is possible to buy flour from the shop, along with preserves and a few other products, which are produced on site. The shop is open to the public, which is good news because I  have developed a liking for their marmalade.  It is possible to watch the miller at work. Unfortunately under 18s are not allowed, which is a shame if you have, like me, a child obsessed with Aunty Mable and her show 'Come Outside'. Shop opening times and details of the day with the miller are here

The mill isn't the only interesting feature. The house also has its own electricity generator in the form of an Archimede's screw. This provided endless fascination for my children. 

There is a lovely, and not too expensive, restaurant which sells ice cream, scones and cakes. The coffee is filter coffee. 

The House is lovely. It is occupied by the family and so most of it is shut off from the public, although the gentleman of the house was also watching the falconry yesterday and was eager that we all had a good time.  

We learnt that the house has two priest holes. Unfortunately they are not open to the general public. One is beneath the hearth of a fireplace - which you can read about here - and the other behind the altar in the, still used, family chapel. If you are catholic the family welcomes you to worship in their chapel on an appointed Sunday of each month. My daughter is very interested in Priest holes after seeing one at Baddesley Clinton house, a National Trust property. 

Another interesting feature, if you like this sort of thing, is that the cushion Queen Victoria knelt on during her coronation is on display. 

There are occasionally boat rides. You can use this company, which starts from Caversham and takes you to the watermill. Sometimes boats leave from the mill and take you back again but it's best to check on their website. 

If you are looking for a day out in the summer 'Robin Hood The Musical' is on in the grounds of the house on 12th August at 1pm. you can book tickets here

You can find Mapledurham House on this map

This is a Gingko tree, which you can find about here. 

Lots of lovely roses in this garden. 

The shop is inside the mill, below. 

Diagram showing how the mill operates...

Archimede's screw...

As of 27th June 2015...

Mill stones...

An array of produce...

Nearby places: 

Caversham Park Gardens. Information can be found here. I've not been here yet, but I shall!
At the moment there is an open air cult cinema. The programme for which can be found here

Christchurch Playground.

Mapledurham playing fields. 

Tokers Green park.

Gallowstree Common park 

Kidmore End park. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Whitchurch Hill 

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This is a nice little playground. Whitchurch Hill is between Woodcote and Pangbourne and can be found on this map

There is some space to park your car on a lay-by next to the park, on the main road. 

The playground is an 'open' one - no fences around the equipment. The benches are in the shade, as is some of the equipment. 

There is a pub nearby - The Sun. Unfortunately I arrived too early and it was closed. I shall go back and ask if they would like to participate in the loo scheme. It certainly looks like a nice place to stop and have a drink. You can have a look at their website here.

Monday, 22 June 2015


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Mapledurham is along the A4074, just before you get to Reading. The park is signposted and is on the right side of the road as you drive into Reading. You can find it on the map here

There's a huge car park and a massive recreation ground. There are several pubs a very short drive away - again, have a look at the map to see where they are.  

Other close playgrounds include one at Tokers Green and one in Caversham, along the river.

Tokers Green

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Tokers Green is off the main road to Reading just before you get to Maple Durham, a turning off on the left hand side. The playground is on the right as you drive through the village. You can find it on this map. 

This is a pretty nice playground. There isn't a dedicated car park but you can park on the main road through the village, which is where the playground is.


Appleford Playground

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Appleford is a lovely little village. It has a nice pub with a playground, a park, an award winning community shop, a half mile walk to the river Thames and plenty of parking at the village hall. 

Find this park on the map here

Park at the village hall, along this road: 

The park is a short walk away, at the end of this road:

You will see this sign outside the park:

If you need a shop don't turn left into Badswell Lane, continue on. The shop is a community shop and run largely by volunteers. 

 If you need the loo, the landlord of the village pub has agreed to display this sticker, just don't forget to let him know as well:) 

The pub is lovely and details an also be found on my pubs with playgrounds blog.

Cogges Farm

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This was a spectacular day out!! There is so much to do here that the four hours we spent certainly wasn't enough. We didn't get around to the dressing up inside the house, which was a shame because my daughter loves to dress up. We also didn't really get to look around the house. 

Here is their website. There a lots of workshops etc so well worth a look. 

You can find how to get here on this map

What is there here? Three play areas, a soft play area, a sandpit, petting, an enclosed garden area with tennis on a string and croquet, a labyrinth and a restaurant! 


Cogges Farm House

First off, animals:

There are three play areas at Cogges. My daughter sometimes thinks she  is too old to play, but the equipment here kept her interested for some time. 

Play area 1: 

Be wary of the river!

Adventure playground area:

Play area around restaurant:

Labyrinth cut into the grass:

Garden areas. 

The area between the fence and the wall, below, was the site of a medieval village. 

Restaurant. Can't resist bunting! 

Other fun things...

An indoor soft play

Sand pit