Located around five miles west of Reading, Theale is a large village full of character and tradition. While still retaining much of its charm, being strategically located just off junction 12 of the M4, Theale has developed into a busy centre for business parks and offices. The proximity of Reading and the motorway junction has attracted a number of companies, and to the south of the village centre lies Arlington Business Park, home to firms including PepsiCo and Wolseley. The area has also attracted new housing and development and is continually growing to meet the demand of its increasing population. The motorway also provides a boundary between the village and suburbs of Reading, and with easy access in and out of the village it is a great place to live and work.
The village owes much of its past and present prosperity to its good road communications links. In the pre-railway era, the village was an important staging post on the old Bath Road, owing to the number of old pubs found on its High Street, and the former brewery that served them. Its high street is distinctly urban, lined with many shops, pubs and restaurants, and even boasts an art gallery – Angels of Art Gallery. Theale railway station is near the centre of the village and is served by local services from Reading to Newbury and Great Bedwyn.
Theale is a civil parish with an elected parish council but it is also governed by West Berkshire as its unitary authority which are both responsible for diffferent aspects of local government. In the past Theale was famous for its Coaching Inns but perhaps its more modern claim to fame is being featured in the film the Borrowers. The Old Brewery was used to film scenes when two miniature borrower children escape from their home. Lying around 5 miles to the south west of Theale is Aldermaston, which during the 1950s and 60s became synonymous with the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston (AWRE). But the village has been virtually untouched by the development of the research site, and has still managed to retain its small country village feel.
Aldermaston village is situated at the southern edge of the flood-plain of the River Kennet. It lies on the A340 road which runs from the A4 road, at Aldermaston Wharf, south to Tadley and Basingstoke. Aldermaston railway station is on the local railway service from Reading to Newbury, although actually the station is over a mile away in Aldermaston Wharf.
Nestled just three miles down the road is Padworth Common, a great place to visit if you fancy a relaxing, peaceful time. The network of paths takes you through a variety of habitats including heath land, woodland and ponds across an area of 28 hectares.
This site is important for its wildlife and habitats, some of which are rare and protected. The Countryside Service is dedicated to improving, maintaining and conserving this for all to enjoy. But if after the relaxing stroll you're in search of some retail therapy or catching a film, the Oracle, located in the heart of Reading is just a short bus ride from Theale and its neighbouring parishes. 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.
And a 270 metre riverside promenade stretching along both sides of the River Kennet, featuring 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. Two bridges span the river - Cooks Bridge, a straight footbridge links The Riverside Car Park to House of Fraser, and Delphi Bridge, gives access from the cinema to Debenhams.
Text kindly provided by "The Berkshire Local"