The Lower Kennet is generally recognised as the section between Newbury and the confluence with the Thames at Reading.
Several tributaries join the river through this section, the more significant being the Lambourn, a chalk-fed river joining just east of Newbury, and the Enborne, and Foudry Brook, largely rain-fed streams joining at Aldermaston and Fobney. In general, the river below Newbury has been considerably affected by man’s influence over hundreds of years.
Significant modifications include:
- The location of a large number of mills along the river’s course with their associated impoundments and by-channels. These include those at Greenham, Ham Mill, Chamberhouse (Thatcham), Brimpton, Aldermaston, Padworth, Sulhamstead, Theale, Burghfield, Southcote and Fobney.
- The construction of the Holybrook which flows from Theale to Reading via Calcot Mill and takes a proportion of the volume of flow between those points.
- The construction of the Kennet and Avon Canal, which shares the river channel in many sections resulting in a more uniform profile than the more natural combination of shallows with deeper pools.
Recreational use of the river reflects these factors: boaters, towpath walkers and cyclists have access along canalised reaches. Angling on the lower river is largely for coarse fish and most stretches are managed by local clubs and associations giving ready and inexpensive access.
In 2018 the Kennet Catchment Partnership identified projects to improve habitat in the lower Kennet including the Thatcham Reedbed Improvement project, Priors Moor Ditch fish passage project, Priors Moor ditch habitat improvements and Holy Brook Habitat improvements.