Thames Path - Wallingford to Reading via Goring, Streatley, Whitchurch, Mapledurham.

Wallingford to Streatley and Goring-on-Thames walking along The Thames Path towpath.

Apart from the opportunity to walk alongside a beautiful river as it meanders through our lovely English countryside this part of The Thames Path also gived the opportunity to look at several really beautiful old bridges. This is a distance of around 8 miles and since there is currently a mini-bus service operating between Wallingford and Goring the walk can be achieved one-way. As of August 2012 Bus 134 goes more or less each hour from Wallingford Town Centre to Goring Railway Station and back and operates Mondays to Saturdays - note that this service is somewhat under threat of closure so it's continued existence should be checked - currently there is a timetable on this pdf-timetable or try the rideabus site. This also means you could go to Goring on the railway and use the bus connection to/from Wallingford to achieve this walk in one direction or the other.
Wallingford itself is very interesting to wander around - there are several riverside pubs, restaurants, regular markets in the quite large market square which is overlooked by the town's 17th century Town Hall - also there are quite a few local shops dotted around the square and within the alleys. Wallingford also boasts three beautiful old churches to look at two of which are right next to the Thames Path where it diverts through the town. There are several long stay car parks in the town - one of the nicest is situated beside Wallingford's beautiful medieval bridge - picture on the right - located at OX10 8EB - i.e. right next to The Thames - however much of this car park is grassed so watch out for boggy patches if there has been wet weather.
It should be noted that most of The Thames Path is actually a public footpath meaning that cyclists on most of it's route do not have the legal right to use it i.e. it is for walkers and not for cyclists.

The beautifull medieval bridge at Wallingford beside The Thames Path in EnglandFrom Wallingford initially the route of the Thames Path heading towards Goring does not go alongside the river - you have to follow the signs and go via several alleys and quiet streets for about half a mile before regaining the river bank. From the town side of Wallingford Bridge going up High Street soon turn left onto Thames Street - follow this until you reach the small church of St. Leonard's Church. The Thames Path goes round to the left of the church, crosses a small bridge by some very old overhanging houses and then goes left to reach Lower Wharf and then the River Thames.
Now the Thames Path follows the river, passes some boat houses and then goes out into very open lush countryside and soon go under the a4130 road bridge - from this point until Goring there is no means of crossing The Thames - from time to time you pass what were obviously ferry crossings but these have long ceased to operate. The path is quite well surfaced for a while but then changes into what can be a quite muddy surface especially after heavy rain. The path eventually reaches a track which was once Papist Way ferry crossing - this was the site of the Little Stoke ferry crossing and here there is a limited amount of car parking available. From here the path goes through a nature reserve and is usually quite to very muddy - the vegetation either side of this beautiful walking area can be at least head high and there is plenty of wildlife to be seen if you are patient. The path then reaches a pair of beautiful railway bridges (Moulsford Bridge) which have been built immediately next to each other. The first bridge was originally built around 1839 by Brunel to carry two broad gauge railway tracks across The Thames and has four arches which were constructed with skewed brickwork - the tracks were subsequently changed to 4 standard gauge tracks. Moulsford Bridge crossing the Thames viewed from The Thames Path, England.A second bridge was built in 1892 beside Brunel's bridge keeping to the same design and height although it only carries two tracks - also the brickwork was not formed in the same way and is just of uncut red brick - the two bridges are connected to each other with steel girders.

The Thames Path goes under the these bridges on a wooden and often quite wet and slippery walkway - then continues along a field edge between fences - i.e. you have to leave the River Thames at this point for a while. Follow the farm track to eventually reach the A329 at Offlands Farm - turn left and the sadly you have to walk along this road (there is a pavement) and downhill into Moulsford. At the far end of Moulsford turn left down Ferry Lane to reach Beetle Wedge public house - go through their outside seating area to reach the river and the old ferry crossing. Turn right soon back into open countryside and then arrive at Cleve Lock and Weir which has some picnic tables. The path continues to Streatley - just before reaching the town the path leaves the river and goes across fields to reach St Mary's Church and then a road. The Thames Path switches sides so turn left and cross the bridge into Goring now with views of the lock and weir. To reach Goring Railway Station and Bus Stop (for Wallingford) go up the high street and at the B4009 turn right to the station.

Walking The Goring to Reading section of The Thames Path.

Firstly this section of the Thames Path is a real mixture of walking through beautiful countryside but also a fair bit of it is not beside the River Thames at all but involves walking along roads and through a quite large housing estate. Initially The Thames Path itself is again going through countryside as it follows the river through Goring Gap - after a while another of Brunel's beautiful railway bridges comes into view - if you are fortunate you might just see a nice freight train going over it. Once under the railway bridge the path soon reaches Gatehampton Ferry Cottage where the towpath changes sides again. The ferry no longer exists so it is necessary to leave the Thames and take the marked Thames Path route over a footbridge and up to a track where you turn right to go out over the countryside and hills to Whitchurch-on-Thames.

St Andrews Church on The Thames Path at Whitchurch, England.The old Mill at Whitchurch on Thames seen from the Thames Path, England. This route is very clearly marked and is a pleasant undulating path which goes through Hartslock Woods and then meets up with  Hartslock Bridleway - the bridleway is in fact now surfaced and soon gently descends to eventually arrive at the top of Whitchurch. Turn right  down into Whitchurch - nearly at the bottom of the hill the Thames Path does actually divert from the road and takes you past Whitchurch's excellent church. From here follow the signs to arrive at Whitchurch tollgate and tollbridge to arrive back at the River Thames at last. Cross the bridge - now in Pangbourne - then a few metres along go through a gate on the left into a small car park and continue on to rejoin the Thames Path actually beside the river. Although their is a lock at Whitchurch it's not possible to reach this on foot as access is via private land - you can just about get a glimpse of the lock from Whitchurch's bridge as well as a somewhat distant view of the weir.Mapledurham Lock on the River Thames in England. From Pangbourne The Thames goes off on one of it's frequent large curves with fields and open areas either side of the river to reach the quite large lock and weirs at Mapledurham. This is a nicely laid out area with some bench seats, a cafe and toilets and the lock-keeper has created nicely planted gardens - unfortunately the public are not allowed to cross over the lock gates and therefore the weir is not accessible from here. Although a path continues alongside The River Thames from the lock there is no way out at the far end so the Thames Path has to leave the river and goes across fields and then along Mapledurham Drive to a road junction at Purley Village. Go across the junction and continue uphill on New HIll road soon over the railway bridge then very soon turn left onto Hazel Road and follow this as it winds for some distance through housing. Look out for and turn right onto Skerritt Way - this ends by three houses in front of you however you can turn right up steps to reach the A329. Go left and soon the railway lines are right next to the road on the left - then just a little further along look out on the left for the marked path which goes between two buildings to reach and then cross the railway lines via a footbridge and subsequently re-join the river. With trees and often quite high undergrowth either side for a while the Thames Path is accommpanied by the set of railway lines on the right. The surface is in good condition for walking and often also used by cycles - the tow path stays next to river all the way to Caversham Bridge and then continues on to Reading Bridge.

One way walking the whole section which is around 10 miles can be easily achieved by using the railway - there are trains running frequently to and from Goring Railway station to Reading.
Is this a worth while part of the Thames Path to walk is of consideration - especially in respect of the part from Mapleduram Lock to Caversham. Obviously if the intention is to walk the whole length of the Path then this section cannot be ommitted - however if the idea is to simply enjoy a bit of walking along the river then perhaps there are better sections to chose. From where the Thames Path goes inland from Gatehampton Ferry Cottage the first part is through nice woodland but then around halfway it becomes a quiet road and you stay on a hard surface all the way down to Whitchurch-on-Thames. Then a few miles along and at Mapleduram Lock the Path then heads across a couple of fields and you are once again walking on road surfaces which is the case for quite for some distance.

For a continuation of this walk please see our Caversham to Hambleden walk on the Thames Path topic - also of possible interest might be our website about walking the Kennet and Avon Canal which starts off from The River Thames just a little way past Reading Bridge.

Related items about The Thames Path:
Our The Thames Path towpath Walks in England Home Page lists all our topics about walking along the Thames Path from Lechlade through to the end of the Path at the Thames Barrage. .
Via our Site Resources find links to more items about England - canals include The Oxford Canal, The Grand Union Canal, The Kennet and Avon Canal, The Regents Canal, the River Lee Navigation and The River Stort and The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal. Also there is an item showing British Wild Flowers.
Our Travel and Sightseeing Holiday guides cover visiting many Greek Islands, Cyprus and India.
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External Link: Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide - lots about Goring in olden days.