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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

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.

Blog Archive

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Sunday walk 2

Didcot Circular SWC walk 44
20 km (12.4 miles)
Difficulty 3 out of 10.
This walk, in an attractive part of the Thames Valley was originally devised as the Appleford Circular. We usually start from Didcot because the trains are better. In fact, trains to or from Appleford are non-existent today unless you count the one that arrives Monday!
We start off on a cycleway and are soon amongst fields. Later, an unspoilt riverside stretch leads to the lunchtime stop in Dorchester-on-Thames. Dorchester Abbey, one of the few large monastery buildings to survive the Dissolution, is worth a visit. It has a unique Jesse window and, in the floor, near a medieval wall painting, lies a poignant memorial to a Sarah Fletcher.
After lunch, the walk takes us back along the river to Little Wittenham. The church there is also worth a quick visit to marvel at the sleeping knight near the window. The tower is said to have been built with the winnings of a card game. Soon after, you come to Wittenham Clumps, a nature reserve encompassing two hills, one of which is surmounted by an Iron Age hill fort. The twin hills were once known as Mother Dunch's Buttocks, a name now politely forgotten.
Get a return to Didcot.
Get the 10.00 Cheltenham Spa train from Paddington. Arrives Didcot 10:51.
Trains back from Didcot are frequent but times vary slightly: 1605 1648 1700 1706 1748 1756 1806  1847 1859  and so on. There are also stopping trains at xx:21, slow but handy for Ealing Broadway and other points west.
(There isn't a convenient start from Ealing Broadway today, but if you don't mind arriving late, the 09:35 Oxford train gets to Didcot at 11:08.)
Lunch Dorchester on Thames still has a large number of coaching inns and pubs, so there's plenty of choice. On past occasions, walkers have used the Fleur de Lys. 
Tea There is a pub, the Prince of Wales 01235 511380 near Didcot station. On return, it's on Station Road, just a short distance past the turn in for the station. Untried, as far as I know.
Anyone up for the longer route back (last paragraph p.4), via Long Wittenham, could divert to the Plough there (follow the road to the right after passing the war memorial).
Otherwise there's a shop and refreshment facilities in the station itself.
Directions are here  Be sure to follow them back to Didcot, not Appleford. 


JohnL said...

Intend going and aiming for 10:51 start. Will any one be on the Oxford train 11:08? Should we wait for you?

Ian T said...

Sun 7 Jun SWC walk44
A w=sunny day brought n=11 walkers out. The morning paths were lined with hemlock which makes a subtle change from cow parsley. One or two striking buttercup meadows along the Thames. Swallows (or were they swifts) performed acrobatics and red kites circled. The Fleur de Lys provided food that seemed to go down well, especially the substantial home made burgers. The pickled grapes in the cheeseboard were not such a hit. Watch out for those. A choir practice was under way in the abbey so our visit there was fairly brief. Then on through more buttercup meadows, past the church with old Billy Dunch’s effigy (still asleep but I think he‘s got one eye open). Up and over the Clumps and back to Didcot. I can report that the Prince of Wales opposite the station is pleasant enough to be deemed a watering hole. The directions to from Didcot need a tweak or two.