Maps & Travels
Towns & Villages
Castles & Houses
Odds & Ends
Major route through Maidenhead, Reading,
Newbury & Hungerford
- Many of the towns of southern Berkshire were important stopping point
on the main road west out of London to the West
- The route was a bit disjointed in medieval times. It began to
improve in Tudor times when it became known as the 'Great Road to
- In the 1650s, stage coaches started running from London to Reading,
Newbury, Marlborough, Bath & Bristol.
- By 1681, there was a daily service between the Black Horse Pub in
London Street (Reading) & the Black Bear in Piccadilly.
- People were terrified of Maidenhead
Thicket, a wood where highwaymen roamed. The inns of Reading and
Maidenhead on either side became rich because people stayed there
rather than cross the dangerous Thicket at night.
- The famous coaching inns of Maidenhead were the Bear, the Sun
& the White Hart.
- The famous coaching inns of Reading were the Crown, the Bear
& the King's Arms.
- The first 'turnpike' stretch of the road was created between Reading
& Theale in 1714. Wealthy landowners paid to mend the highway, but
travellers had to pay them a 'toll' to ride on a good road.
- Queen Anne made Bath a popular destination for parties and healthy
living. This continued through the 18th century.
- The road became known as the 'Bath Road. It is now the A4.