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Book Review – a family friendly book of short walks West of Reading

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John Prior came up with a genius idea when he wrote down directions for walks he had taken with his children and grandchildren over the 35 years he has lived in Pangbourne.

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“The walks were chosen to appeal to anyone who wants to spend an hour or two exploring the beautiful countryside and villages on their doorstep.” said author, John Prior. “They are also perfect for entertaining children, providing ideas for a local outing.

“My wife Anne and I have lived in Pangbourne for over 35 years, bringing up 3 daughters and it was they who originally inspired this book. At weekends we were keen to explore the local area but any walk also had to be child-friendly, not too long and if possible including a playground and an ice cream! So we collected suitable routes. Time has moved on and we now have 3 grandchildren living locally, so the walks will suit everyone from young families to senior citizens.”

The book contains directions for 12 walks in the West Reading area. Each walk having a short version of about one mile and a longer version of about two miles, are mainly on the level and follow public footpaths or highways.

The directions for each walk start at a car park (with a post code for sat nav users) or where available, with public transport directions. Instructions for each walk are clear and the book includes simplified maps which highlight public toilets, cafes and playgrounds along the route as well as the best places to stop and admire the beautiful scenery.

The book also has plenty of facts and figures about the area and helpful comments such as when the road doesn’t include a footpath or where the best views are.

There are plenty of beautiful views to see as the 12 walks chosen by John are all in the triangle outlined by Didcot, Reading and Newbury, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

It’s John’s first published book. “I really enjoyed researching the walks and the history of places they pass,” he said, “photographing key sights and then drafting the text.”

The book is available from Waterstones branches in Reading and Newbury, WH Smiths in Reading, Newbury and Didcot, the Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham and the West Berks Visitor Information Centre in Newbury. It is also available from Amazon.

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