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This Week's Walks - Archive

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This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Sunday, 6 December 2020

Sunday Walk - The Return of the Rule of Six - Thames Valley and Berkshire Downs: Cholsey to Goring

Please note that on 'my' walks, punters are expected to give me their contact details for track-and-trace purposes at the start, and that walkers are expected to immediately split into groups of six or fewer and to stay in those sub-groups all day. If you find that beyond your abilities, please do not come on this walk!  

Length: 24.1 km (15.0 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 250/248m; Net Walking Time: 5 ¼ hours
Toughness: 5/10 
 
Take the 09.42 Hereford train from Paddington (change Reading: 10.10/10.26), arrives Cholsey 10.42. The train boarded at Reading is the 09.28 Stopping Service from Paddington (Ealing B’way 09.37).
Return trains from Goring & Streatley are on xx.00 (journey time 57 mins) and at 16.37 (change at Didcot). Buy a Cholsey return. 
 
“This walk offers a fine combination of gentle Oxfordshire countryside, wide grassy horse training gallops, a stretch of the Ridgeway with splendid views from the Berkshire Downs, and a final saunter along the banks of the Thames. Although the walk is fairly long, it has nothing too steep or demanding.

The main walk is best undertaken from mid spring to early autumn. With a fairly late start to accommodate the early lunch stop at The Red Lion Blewbury. The suggested tea stop is the Beetle and Wedge riverside restaurant at Moulsford, a place with ‘Wind in the Willows’ and ‘Three Men in a Boat’ associations. There are also plenty of hostelries in Streatley and Goring at the end of the walk.

Before starting the walk, devotees of Agatha Christie’s detective stories might want to make a short detour to visit the novelist’s grave in the churchyard of St Mary’s, Cholsey. To do this, follow the walk directions for the first 180 metres till you reach the railway bridge, but instead of turning left under the railway, turn right and follow the path for 700 metres as it climbs up to the church. Afterwards, retrace your steps and pass under the railway to re-join the directions.”

Lunch: The Red Lion in  Blewbury (6.6 km/4.1 mi), or – a little further along and to the left off the route along London Road – The Blueberry. 
Tea: The Beetle & Wedge Boathouse  en route plus lots of choice in Streatley and Goring-on-Thames (see the pdf for details).

For summary, map, height profile, some photos, walk directions and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.49

3 comments:

PeteG said...

Anyone travelling from Ealing Broadway should allow extra time. You have to walk to the end of platform 4 to cross to platform 3. I'm assuming it will be the same on Sunday as today.

PeteB said...

When I have done this walk in the past I have seen brown hares as you follow the valley path through Unhill Bottom. Hopefully they will still be there when you do the walk tomorrow,

Thomas G said...

5 off the train plus 1 car driver waiting in the subway.
Progressing at a good pace, we were in danger of getting to the lunch options in Blewbury before they even opened, but the (medium-intense) mud prevented that, and we rolled into The Red Lion at 10 past noon.
This has been massively transformed since I'd last been, into a very slick operation with slick looks and good food. Sensationally, they had 3 adjacent tables for us on the one side of the bar, without anyone else venturing into that area, so effectively we had our very own 'function room'. Staff were great, the menu enticing and all and sundry were very happy with their choices. 90 minutes later we left, knowing that the chances of finishing in darkness had risen from 'likely' to 'certainly'...
No need to worry much about it of course, as there is no sensible shortcut on this walk and the last half hour is along the Thames anyway with little risk of getting lost. Up onto the Downs and along the Gallops, then follow the Ridgeway, with the fog still not having lifted, so no views to speak of. Call it eerie, spooky or atmospheric: we all liked it. Needless to say there were very few others out and about (a couple picking sloes and a few dog walkers, that was about it).
Primed by the previous comment to be eagle-eyed on the ever so beautiful descent through Unhill Bottom to check for hares, we failed to see any, unfortunately. That may have been due to the pretty annoying noise emanating from beyond the trees on the left: a sound like chainsaws on speed, or off-road motorbikes (a race along The Fair Mile?). Pretty is was nevertheless, especially what with the mist rising from the trees. We passed the Beetle and Wedge at 10 past 4 as the light started to fade.

Having seen three donkeys on the slopes of Blewburton Hill, the only other animals worth noting were now a couple of herons on the Thames and then a ca. 150 piece strong flock/shoal/flight/group of ducks, serenely moving upstream. The Thames Path being what it is, a well-trodden highway, the lack of light didn't really matter, and it never got pitch-dark anyway, so that we reached Streatley in safety at 5 to 5, conceding that the 17.00 train was now out of reach.

The Swan at Streatly is no more, of course, as it is now - after a multi-year re-fit - a 'Coppa Club' outfit (6 branches, incl. Tower Bridge). We did manage to wangle our way into it though, to a six-seater section by a fireplace for some warm drinks and puddings (no alc pls w/o a substantial meal). 18.00 train.
A superior day in very good company.
n=6 w=foggy