ALDERMASTON is a very pretty village on the Kennet and Avon Canal, with a main street of red brick and timber houses sandwiched between Elizabethan cottages. To outsiders, however, it is best remembered as the starting point for the Ban the Bomb marches, chosen by protesters because of its proximity to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment. Despite the traffic that thunders through it on the A340 to Basingstoke, the village has been well preserved and a relief road is planned. Until recently Aldermaston was an estate village and every third year, on 13th December, a candle auction is still held to determine the rent charged for a small piece of land known as Church Acre – the end of the bidding is signalled by the extinction of a candle flame. Aldermaston Manor Hotel was once the big house, set in ample grounds. There is a parish hall, village green, store and post office. Bowls and cricket are played.
The station itself is useful for shuttle services into Reading, whence fast trains to Paddington are plentiful. Newcomers to the village grazing the Wimpey estate at Aldermaston Wharf for purchases will find that a four-bedroom detached house can cost £475,000. They should also be aware that Aldermaston was just one of the towns and villages in Berkshire affected by flooding in 2007.