On 23 March the Government published stricter guidance on staying at home and away from others that superseded the advice in place at the time of writing on 21 March.
Waterloo Meadows is the closest green space to the Whitley Pump. This narrow triangular piece of land bounded by the River Kennet and Elgar Road has been Katesgrove’s playground for decades.
Once truly a meadow, it was prone to flooding. It was used as a landfill site during the 1950s, which raised the level of the land so flooding is very rare now, although there has been some standing water this wet and soggy winter.
The area is split into three sections from south to north: the allotments, the meadow, and the BMX track together with the playground and children’s centre. There is also a pedestrian and cycle path along the banks of the Kennet all the way to Rose Kiln Lane.
The allotments have occupied part of the site since the 1960s and the landmark pylon has been there since then too.
The Friends of Waterloo Meadows (FoWM) was formed in 1983 to look after the meadows in co-ordination with Reading Borough Council (RBC). FoWM planted a community orchard in 2013 and they have also sown wildflower beds. The grassy areas are mown every autumn.
RBC gave the BMX track and upgrade in 2017 and the playground has a variety of equipment and play areas.
Waterloo Meadows may get busier now that the schools have closed but is worth checking out if only en route to Fobney Island.
For further reading, when the time is right: Waterloo Sunrise, Discovering the past, the life and the wildlife of Katesgrove edited by Julie Wickham and Mike Cox.
Update at 24 March
At this time Government advice to reduce the transmission of coronavirus is being constantly updated and you should consult the latest guidance on the Government’s coronavirus webpage.
- Friends of Waterloo Meadows Conservation Volunteers website & Facebook page
- Reading Borough Council Waterloo Meadows
- Waterloo Meadows BMX track renovated ready for summer holidays
- Social distancing day 1 – a walk to Fobney Island
- Friends of Waterloo Meadows on the Whitley Pump
- Government advice on coronavirus
- An oral and social history of Katesgrove