Woodley, Berkshire

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Woodley Shopping Centre - geograph.org.uk - 2778.jpg
Woodley Shopping Centre
Woodley is located in Berkshire
 Woodley shown within Berkshire
Population 35,470 (2011 Census[citation needed])
OS grid reference SU7673
   – London 35 mi (56 km)  E
Civil parish Woodley
Unitary authority Wokingham
Ceremonial county Berkshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Reading
Postcode district RG5
Dialling code 0118
Police Thames Valley
Fire Royal Berkshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Reading East
List of places

Coordinates: 51°27′11″N 0°54′07″W / 51.453°N 0.902°W / 51.453; -0.902

Woodley is a town and civil parish in Berkshire, England. It is a suburb of Reading and is located near the towns of Earley and Wokingham, and nearby villages, Sonning, Twyford, Winnersh, Hurst, and Charvil.


The toponym Woodley is derived from Old English words meaning "a clearing in the wood". Anciently, Woodley was part of the ecclesiastical parish of Sonning.

Tyne and Wear, Old Bulmershe Manor was the home of the Blagrave family and probable birthplace of the 17th-century mathematician, John Blagrave. The adjoining house of Bulmershe Court, otherwise Woodley Lodge, was built in 1777 by James Wheble. The house was subsequently bought by Henry Addington, at that time Speaker of the House of Commons and later Prime Minister. He lived there when not in London and was visited by prominent figures of the age, including William Pitt the Younger and, it is said,[by whom?] King George III. In the Second World War the house was used by the US Army. In the 1960s it was demolished and replaced by a teacher training college that has subsequently become part of the University of Reading.

Until the 1930s Woodley was a village of little significance. In that decade, an airfield and flying school was opened in the 100-acre (40 ha) field belonging to Sandford Farm. In 1932 F.G. Miles came to Woodley and joined with Philips and Powis in the production of the Miles Hawk aeroplane, leading to the formation of Miles Aircraft Ltd which continued producing aircraft in Woodley until after the Second World War. In the years before the war numerous aviators visited Woodley, including Charles Lindbergh and Amy Johnson; Douglas Bader lost his legs in a flying accident on the airfield in 1931. Just under 6,000 civil and military aircraft were built and first flown here from 1933–62 and, in 1939, the Phillips & Powis factory installed Britain's first moving track assembly line for aircraft production, to build the Miles Master advanced training aeroplane. Today, much of Woodley's aviation heritage is commemorated by the Museum of Berkshire Aviation on the southern edge of the former airfield.

After the Second World War Woodley continued to grow, with industry relocating from Reading, and new housing. In the 1960s the airfield closed together with its last aircraft factory, and a new town centre was created replacing old village shops. In the 1980s the airfield site was redeveloped as a housing area, and Woodley is now largely indistinguishable from Reading.


The Office for National Statistics places Woodley within the Reading Urban Area, but for purposes of local government it is in the area of the unitary authority of Wokingham, and outside the area of Reading Borough Council.

Woodley is a civil parish with town status (adopted in 1974) and an elected town council. The town council and unitary authority are responsible for different aspects of local government.

Woodley is divided between the Reading East and Maidenhead parliamentary constituencies.


Woodley Congregational church is a Gothic Revival building completed in 1834.[1] It is now an United Reformed Church.

The Church of St John the Evangelist was designed by Henry Woodyer,[1] paid for by Robert Palmer of Holme Park and built in 1873. Woodley was made separate ecclesiastical parish in 1881.

The Berkshire aviation museum is a museum in the south of Woodley and built on the historical site of Woodley airfield. The museum runs on donations.


Woodley has two secondary comprehensive schools that have achieved specialist school status, Waingels College (Mathematics and Computing), and The Bulmershe School (Sports). Primary schools include ones at Highwood, Beechwood, St Dominic's Roman Catholic, Rivermead, Woodley Church of England, Southlake and Willowbank.


Woodley football team is Woodley Town F.C. The club was formed in 1904, and it is thought[according to whom?] that a team existed in Woodley in the nineteenth century. In 2009 Woodley Town ran three teams in the Reading Football League. The 1st team won the Senior Division in 2008–09 (Step 7 of the FA National League System) and the BTC Senior Cup to complete the League and Cup double and is a FA Charter Standard Development Club. The club runs a youth section, Woodley Town Kestrels, with boys and girls teams from under-7 to under-17 age groups.

Southlake Angling Society[2] runs the Southlake fishery near Woodley town centre. It was established in the early 1960s on the former estate lake with which it shares its name. The Society has added Redlands, a local lake in Hurst, and a stretch of the River Loddon that flows close to the east of Woodley and Earley.

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  1. ^ a b Pevsner 1966, p. 311.
  2. ^ Southlake Angling Society
  3. ^ "Interview: The Hoosiers". BBC. 18 December 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2008. 

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