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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.

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Saturday, 12 November 2016

Saturday Third Walk – Undulating Hills Along the Thames with Autumn Color

SWC Walk 17:  Goring Circular with possible Extension to Pangbourne or Tilehurst T=3.17
Distance:  10.9 Miles or 17.5 km for those more metrically minded (or 16ish miles/26ish km with full extension)
Difficulty:  4 out of 10

Train:  Take the 10:00 AM Penzance train from London Paddington (changing at Reading to the Oxford train -- arriving in Reading at 10:28 and departing 10:53), arriving at Goring at 11:06. For those early birds not wishing to change trains at Reading (or those joining from Ealing), you can take the Oxford train at 9:37 directly from Paddington (9:45 Ealing Broadway). Return trains from Goring are at XX:12 and 42, until 21:12 and roughly 5 and 10 minutes later, respectively, at Pangbourne and Tilehurst. Buy a day return to Goring & Streatley. 

This is a lovely walk along the undulating hills near the Thames that has not been done for a spell.  With any luck, we should hopefully be able to catch some nice tree color in the woods en route and possibly a glimpse of a near full moon reflecting from the Thames later in the afternoon/evening (one good thing about the Great Darkness, being the ability to have a full moon walk in the early evening)!  Following on from our successful moonlit outing last month, should conditions merit, it is possible to extend this walk (after appropriate refreshments in Goring) with a moonlit promenade along the Thames by following the Thames Path to Pangbourne (an additional 3ish miles (4.5 km)) or Tilehurst (an additional 6ish miles (10 km)).  You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.

The recommended lunch spot is the Bell Inn (01635 578 272) in Aldworth (4.6 miles/7.5 km into the walk) – it is a very traditional pub serving real ale and only light meals.  However, I have noted that there is a full-service pub, The Four Points Inn (01635 578 367), about 400-500 meters off-piste and, for research purposes, I thought that for those interested we would make a reccie excursion to this pub for lunch to assess whether it makes sense to include as an option for this walk.  Tea and other late afternoon refreshments can be had at Pierreponts Café (open until 5pm) or various other establishments near the river in Goring.    

Enjoy the walk!


Walker said...

N=6 brave souls on this walk, defying a weather forecast of endless rain. But in fact the rain stopped soon after we started walking. The morning was then dry but grey, the afternoon w=drizzly. Much better than expected.

The best part of this walk - certainly the best bit for woods and autumn colour - is in the afternoon. There was some good beech colour on this section but we only saw some of it before darkness fell. This was because we eschewed the normal sandwich-only lunch pub and diverted to another (nice, if busy) up the road that did full meals. We did not get there till 1.45 and left at 3pm.

Walking in the woods as dark fell at 4.45 was entrancing. Owls hooted, pheasants clucked noisily as our approach disturbed their roost - and was that a sika deer I heard rutting? Once it was fully dark navigation was tricky at times and descending the steep hill to Streatley in the blackness was not easy. But thanks to K and T, our expert night walkers, we all got there in one piece by 6pm.

After a pub tea the clouds were breaking and three of us set off, intending a short stroll along the Thames under the supermoon. But it was so lovely we walked all the way to Pangbourne. How to describe this for those who have not done it? The silvery light dancing through the branches, dappled patches on the path, the whole landscape reduced to shades of mysterious blue, familiar objects taking unfamiliar hues. We arrived reluctantly in the relative civilisation of Pangbourne just in time to catch the delayed 21.12 train and then decamped at Reading to search for provisions (thanks M&S). Then a fast train back to London arriving only a bit later than the original train would have done.

Walker said...

Oh, and on the moonlight walk we practically tripped over a badger! He (she?) was so busy feeding on something that we were within a foot of him before he bolted off. Never ever seen one so close before.