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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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Sunday, 30 July 2017

Didcot Circular: The tranquil Thames, a tragic tale, a sleeping knight..

Didcot Circular SWC walk 44
22 km (12.4 miles)
Difficulty 3 out of 10.
This walk, in an attractive part of the Thames Valley, started life as the Appleford Circular but Didcot has better trains. In fact, Appleford has none today.
After following a fairly pleasant cycle path out of Didcot, a quiet stretch of the Thames leads to lunch in Dorchester-on-Thames, once an important coaching stop but now sleepy and forgotten. There, Dorchester Abbey, one of the few large monastery buildings to survive the Dissolution, is worth a visit. In the floor, near a medieval wall painting, a touching flagstone hints at Sarah Fletcher's sad demise. The walk continues back along the river to Little Wittenham. The church there is also worth visiting if only to marvel at the sleeping knight near the window. Soon afterwards, you come to Wittenham Clumps, a nature reserve surrounding two Iron Age hill forts.
Get the 10.00 train to Cheltenham Spa from Paddington. Arrives Didcot Parkway 10:51.(West Londoners: a stopping train calls at Ealing Broadway at 9:56, Southall 10:02, West Drayton 10:10, reaching Didcot at 11:11. Don't expect the others to wait. You can bend their ear in the pub.)
Trains back from Didcot are frequent but times vary slightly each hour, like so: 16:14, 16:59 17:13, 17:46, 17:57 and so on. There's also an xx:25 that requires a change at Reading and a slow stopping train at xx:50 that might be of use to those pesky West Londoners.
Get a return to Didcot Parkway.
Lunch: Dorchester on Thames still has a 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 opposite the station on Station Road. Used to be Greene King but I think it's recently changed hands.  
Otherwise there's a shop and refreshments inside the station.
Directions are hereFrom point 12, be sure to follow the directions back to Didcot, not Appleford. Not unless you’ve got a tent. 


Anonymous said...

West Londoners: take 9:35 train from Ealing Broadway, arriving at Didcot Parkway at 10:48, beating the Paddington Train by 3 mins.

Anonymous said...

A correction on the train time: on Sunday, it is 9:21 from Ealing Broadway and arriving at Didcot Parkway at 10:34am if you wish to arrive ahead of the scheduled train from Paddington.

Mr M Tiger said...

Just to clarify, there IS a train from Ealing B at 9:56 direct to Didcot. If you prefer to get the 9:21 from Ealing Broadway, be aware it is a Reading train and you'll have to change at Slough for the 9:53 to Didcot (same platform).

Anonymous said...

Beside Didcot Parkway station is the
Discot Railway Centre £9 admission if you have time.

PeteB said...

n=4 on this walk with the weather w=cloudy with a couple of showers. Th pre-lunch part of this walk is a bit dull but its always good to visit Dorchester. After lunch 3 decided to "double up and have tea and cakes at the Abbey museum cafe. Feeling a cold I decided to press on to enjoy the nicer afternoon leg and the views from the clumps. Back in time for a coffee at the station and then 5.13pm train back to London which was surprisingly empty.