Nestled in the historic Royal County of Berkshire, Earley is home to more than 32,000 and lies to the east of Reading. Its borders stretch from the River Thames in the north to the M4 in the south, where much of the historic green field area has been swallowed up by new roads and housing. Geographically Earley is divided into subordinate areas and confusingly for those new to the area, a variation of spellings including Erleigh, Maiden Erlegh and Lower Earley.

Up until 1888, Earley extended westwards from the Three Tuns crossroads down the Wokingham Road and into Reading. But to enable this section to be linked into the drainage system, Reading extended its boundaries to the Three Tuns crossroads and this part of Earley became part of Reading. Earley grew rapidly after World War II, and became a town in 1974. From 1977 the Lower Earley estate was built, creating more than 6,000 extra homes. Lower Earley is often referred to as a town in its own right, even though it is just a development to the southern end of Earley, and residents are keen to distinguish which end of the town they live.


Earley is the largest town in the district, with an even greater population than Wokingham, and many residents proudly consider it as an independent entity without any affiliation for either Reading Borough or Wokingham District. Earley has its own town council based at Radstock House in Radstock Lane, which among other functions looks after its parks and community centres.

During the extensive building development two new primary schools were built as well as a large Asda supermarket complex and sports centre around Chalfont Way. The town also has smaller shopping parades at Silverdale Road, Maiden Place and in Wokingham Road near the Three Tuns crossroads, which have managed to retain some small independent traders. While outsiders may mistakenly consider Earley as part of Reading, the town is governed by Wokingham District Council, alongside neighbouring towns and parishes including Woodley, Winnersh, Aborfield, and Wargrave.

One of the town's true treasures is Maiden Erlegh Park which is classified as a Local Nature Reserve, managed by the Town Council's Park Rangers and groundsman. The tranquil lake area, between Instow Road and Lakeside is bounded by ancient woodland, and managed under the Reservoirs Act. Maiden Erlegh, the district's flagship school, is found within the older part of Earley. Its popularity has pushed up house prices in the school's catchment area and the district is currently working on a multi-million expansion project to cope with the increasing demand for places.

Earley is served by Reading Transport, who provide a number of bus services to and from the centre of Reading which is only a few miles away. Bringing shoppers from near and far, the Oracle, located in the heart of Reading, combines the best in fashion and leisure. With more than 90 top named shops to choose from including Karen Millen, Mango and French Connection, or the usual chain stores for those on a stricter budget, the Oracle has much to offer any shopaholic. A 270 metre riverside promenade stretching along both sides of the River Kennet, features a wide range of restaurants, cafes and bars with outdoor seating for those who fancy al fresco dining, as well as a 10-screen multiplex cinema. Or film fanatics can opt for the Showcase Cinema at Loddon Bridge on the outskirts of Earley where free parking is provided.

With easy access in and out of the town via the A329, M4 and nearby M3, Earley is a great place to work and live. Thames Valley Business Park falls within its borders with big names including Microsoft and Oracle based there.

Earley has its own Railway Station and is on the line from Reading to London Waterloo.. Unknown to many, the town has a water park where you can discover the excitement of water sports including kayaking, canoeing and rowing. Or if you fancy something a bit more relaxing Earley Crescent Rescource Centre, in Warbler Drive is a great place to grab a cup of tea or slice of cake and enjoy the company of its many volunteer staff. Earley certainly has more to offer than often meets the eye and even many of its residents are unaware of the hidden treasures lurking around the corner.


Text kindly provided by "The Berkshire Local"

The Berkshire Local

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