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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

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Wednesday Walk - Thames Valley: lovely Dorchester-on-Thames, its Abbey & Wittenham Clumps

SWC Walk 44 – Didcot Circular

Length:  22.1 km (13.8 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  120 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 4 ½ hours
Toughness:  3 out of 10 
Take the 10.00 Paignton train from Paddington, arriving Didcot Parkway at 10.41
From Ealing take the 09.35 to Reading and change there.
(Fast) return trains: 15.29, 16.03, 16.16, 16.29, 16.47, 17.16, 17.29, 18.00…hours (from 44 minutes)

This walk takes in an attractive part of the Thames Valley south of Oxford, with a lunchtime stop in Dorchester-on-Thames. This handsome village is now bypassed by the traffic but used to be an important staging post between London and Oxford. It has retained a large number of coaching inns and other pubs, so there's plenty of choice for refreshment. You should be sure to visit Dorchester Abbey , one of the few large monastery buildings to survive the Dissolution; it now functions as an impressive parish church. In the afternoon the walk comes to the Wittenham Clumps, the name given to a pair of Iron Age hill forts set in a nature reserve managed by the Earth Trust.

The lunch pub will be any one of a handful in Dorchester-on-Thames (11 km/7 mi), for details see the walk directions. For tea in Didcot, the Prince of Wales, right by the station, is the obvious watering hole to spend the time waiting for a train.
For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here.

Next Week:  Book1 Walk 43 Otford Circular 12.4 km/7.7 mi, 3/10 T=swc.44


Anonymous said...

Are we managing to sort out a programme of Christmas walks? jfk

Thomas G said...

The right place for this conversation would be the Forum or Walk Requests sections, or even the Crimbo Drinks Party on Dec 7 methinks, but...

Expect 3 walks on the Saturdays 24/31, 2 on 26/27/2, 1 on the Wednesdays, maybe 1 on NY. And if everyone is nice to their walk posters of trust (current and lapsed), they might even invest the extra work of posting walks on the intermittent days...

gouldman said...

Funeral in the abbey at 2pm, suggest pre lunch visit.

Anonymous said...

hi thomas thanks for posting this. am i right in thinking its about 6 miles to Dorchester ?

is everyone doing the Didcot circular ?

Thomas G said...

wrong: (11 km/7 mi), as per the posting

Marion said...

Good to see that the Wednesday walks continue to be well attended. Unfortunately demand for my services is now running at 6 days a week at two different sites for the foreseeable future but will look forward to joining you all again after the New Year on my return from Cuba.

gouldman said...

Do pass on our condolences!

Anonymous said...

Sorry dancing on 7th and tomorrow evening but as you say the Forum may be a place to raise the issue of programme of Christmas walks jfk

Marcus said...

n=14 alighted from a very full train at Didcot to set out on today's walk in conditions on the gorgeous side of gorgeous for winter walking: w=sunny-cold-with-thick-frost-on-the-ground making it very atmospheric as the overnight fog had not yet fully cleared. The first mile or so of the walk was suburban but thereafter we were walking through pretty villages and beside the River Thames on a section undeveloped with property.
The whole walk took us through countryside steeped in history - dem Romans woz here - and later in the walk (but before in time), Iron Age forts.
Arriving in Dorchester-on-Thames, some of us visited the lovely abbey before joining the rest in the cosy Fleur de Lys pub, where six of us enjoyed good pub grub, served by friendly staff.
Five of the seven sandwich eaters set out on the afternoon leg whilst their colleagues were still eating in the pub, with the remaining eight setting out 40 minutes later.
Now arithmetic wizzos amongst readers will have spotted someone was missing. Our No 14 decided to do her own thing from mid-morning onwards and - presumably - return to London early for evening engagements.
The thick frost was still on the ground as our group of eight set out on the afternoon leg, soon crossing newly fenced-in-fields and then the Thames before a quick visit to the lovely Little Wittenham church preceded our ascent of Wittenhan Clumps, a pair of iron age hill forts. The panoramic view from the top was wonderful in the clear, cold air.
Descending the Clumps through Nature Reserves we became conscious of the diminishing daylight hours and sped up (not that we dawdled during any part of the walk). However, our walk leader and poster had judged the time to perfection and as we crossed the last of the fields the sun was setting behind Didcot Power Station.
Six of us enjoyed a drink in the pub opposite the station before another full train whisked us back to Paddington.
The very best of SWC days.

Anonymous said...

No 14 unfortunately got left behind after stopping for a toilet break. After being very lost in Long W after the museum she did manage to blaze a new trail to Dorchester on Thames where she took tea at Lilysl

Fantastic December weather and walk jfk