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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.

Blog Archive

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Sunday Walk - The Chilterns and the Thames Valley, Spring Flowers and Beech Woods: Goring Circular (via Hill Bottom) or to Pangbourne

Length: 18.3 km (11.4 mi) or 25.0 km (15.5 mi) to Pangbourne
Ascent/Descent: 300m or 350m to Pangbourne
Net Walking Time: ca. 4 hours or 5 ½ hours to Pangbourne
Toughness: 4 out of 10

Take the 10.15 Didcot Parkway service from Paddington (may show as a ‘Cholsey’ train at Paddington; stops Ealing B’way 10.23). Or take the 10.27 Cheltenham Spa service and change Reading (11.03/11.14). In each case arriving Goring & Streatley 11.27.
Return trains: xx.14 (direct, but shave off 15 mins by changing at Reading), xx.27 (via Didcot). From Pangbourne: xx.19 via Reading (shorter), xx.22 via Didcot (longer).
Buy a Goring & Streatley return in any case.

Last year we walked this mid-April mid-week and it seemed – as the walk author says in his blurb – the best time of year to do this walk. Bluebells then weren’t at their peak (see the walk report on the site), they should be today.

From the blurb…: “This circular walk is best done anti-clockwise and the walk instructions are written to reflect this. It is a mix of beautiful, rolling Chilterns countryside, forest trails and quiet country lanes. This is a spring to early autumn walk. The best time to do it however is probably late April or early May when the foliage of the beech trees is at its most vibrant and where there should be good displays of bluebells and other spring flowers in some woods. Sections of the trails through woods will be muddy after rain. There are very short but safe stretches along potentially busy roads. There are three pubs en route before you reach Goring. …”

Walk Option:  At the end, from Goring station find the Thames Path and continue along one of the best stretches of it (with the water on your right-hand side) to Whitchurch and thence across the Thames to Pangbourne station (not written up but with a gpx file on the site). The Swan  pub on the river is an ideal spot to await the train (2 mins from the platform).

For summary, walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here.

Lunch: The Sun Inn in Hill Bottom (8.2 km/5.1 mi, food to 15.00); the chef is ex-Gordon Ramsay and Tom Aiken, so expect gastro-food. Welcoming walkers these days and proved a very good lunch stop last year. Further along, as long as you beat a 5 km/h average pace…: The Red Lion (trad village pub fare, on Sundays: Roasts only) and The Plaice (fish & chips), in Woodcote  (11.9 km/7.4 mi, food to 14.00 at both establishments).
Tea: Plenty of options in Goring (a little beyond the station) and in Whitchurch/Pangbourne. For details see the pdf. T=swc.243

2 comments:

Gabriella said...

Note for future walkers : the Sun Inn must be under new management; there wasn’t a soup├žon of Gordon Ramsey’s influence in the cuisine. Unless, as one of my fellow hikers commented, it was from ‘Hells Kitchen’. We were the only three dining in an empty pub with no atmosphere and sub standard grub. I advise the next time this route is followed to have a large breakfast and keep going until you reach the other pub by the cricket pitch.

Mr M Tiger said...

N=10 turned out. Weather was w=cool-cloudy-dry-sunny-glimpses-later
The real stars of today were the beech woods with an iridescent green light shining through the young leaves. In second place, a field of buttercups. Bluebells were much in evidence but, for jaded old me, they lacked the “wow” factor. One off-piste wood glimpsed across a field WAS spectacular. Maybe the bluebells are always bluer on the other side of the field.
I think this walk could give more indication of distance at times. The word “soon” is open to misinterpretation. I had trouble with the stretch through Great Chalk Wood 4 years ago and exactly the same thing happened again (at points 8-9). I was walking for so long that I doubled back to check I hadn’t missed the way out. I hadn’t.
I thought I’d found my way through a later wood alright. Then I realised I was walking past the same “primitive Methodist” building I’d passed on the way in! That could have been my fault though …. LOL …(as you young people say)….. Luckily, Mr Google was on hand to sort me out.
I was slower than the others, even when I wasn’t walking round in circles. Just missed the 17:14 so had to spend some time in the Miller of Mansfield which was OK.