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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, 7 March 2020

Saturday Walk - Goring Circular via Hill Bottom - the OTHER OTHER Goring Circular

Length: 18km (11.3 miles) T=3.243
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.27 train from Paddington (9.35 Ealing Broadway) to Goring, arriving 10.35.

Or get the 9.47 Swansea service to Reading, arriving 10.10, and pick up the above train there at 10.23.

Buy a day return to Goring and Streatley (NOT Goring-by-Sea)

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. For a map of the route click here.

There are two much better known Goring Circulars in our library of walks - the one with the sandwich pub (done last Sunday) and the one via Pangborne (or vv). But this isn't either of those, and it in fact has not had a Saturday outing for nearly three years. It explores a gently hilly area to the north of the Thames, with some woods...and that is about all I can remember about it, because it is even more than three years since I did it.

Perhaps it is the convoluted debate about the lunch pubs in the comments for this walk that put posters off. But as far as I can see, on its most recent outings the Sun Inn on Whitchurch Hill has proved perfectly good, and as for it welcoming walkers, they actually solicit our custom on their website and the wording there and comments posted on our website suggest the warning about having to pre-book is no longer valid: it serves food till 3pm. Otherwise there are two pubs in Woodcote: one (the Black Lion) only does drinks, but the Red Lion from its website looks to have a respectable food offering and does food all afternoon.

Goring at the end of the walk is not lacking in refreshment options and, the days now being longer, there is the possibility of an after tea extension along the Thames Path to Pangbourne - or even, it being nearly a full moon, a moonlight walk if conditions are favourable.

Trains back from Goring are at 18 and 48 past, and again changing at Reading in theory cuts the journey time to Paddington by around 23 minutes (50 minutes versus 1 hour 13 minutes)


Anonymous said...

Newish to group. Which Saturday walk likely to be least muddy. You are the experts.

Anonymous said...

Unless the walk poster goes out and walks all 3 routes today or tomorrow (which obviously they won't do) they have no way of knowing what the conditions are on the ground or comparing them. It's winter, it's raining. Expect mud on all walks. Best thing to do is to look at the walk details/map for each walk and use your own judgement.

Anonymous said...

Apologies to Newbie. Mr Sarcastic is untypical of the group. Stick around and don't be put off. And don't join the Ramblers:we're more interesting.

Walker said...

I don't think the earlier commenter was being sarcastic. I would say that there is no reason to think that any of the walks this Saturday will be un-muddy, or that any will be particularly drier underfoot than any other, put it that way. We have had quite a bit of rain this week and the ground is still soft. Usually during March the ground starts to dry of its own accord due to increased sunshine and evaporation, but that will probably not be for two or three weeks this year.

Monica said...

Hi Newbie the mud will not be as bad as Haslemere. I did a Haslemere circular via Bkackdown last weekend you would have given up before lunch.There was all kinds of mud some where your boots struggle with each step.By the end of the walk your heart and lungs will thank you but your le gs will curse you. So enjoy the walk as Goring on Thames is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much, Monica.

PeteB said...

As the walk author my experience is that the muddiest sections will be through the woods before lunch but I am fairly confident this will prove a "below average" muddy walk compared to those around Wadhurst or in the Chilterns. Like many walks the best time do this walk is probably late April when the beech trees look particularly vibrant - see Moontiger's excellent photos on the walks pages. Enjoy the walk whilst I berate England's Rugby Team who are playing Wales.

Anonymous said...

Did this lovely walk today. Mud only in certain places and nowhere near as bad as some recent walks.
In the worse areas you can take dry parallel paths.
Sun Inn gone downhill, only four food options plus one veggie (Spring Rolls)
Owners gone off for weekend leaving nice old gent to look after kitchen and bar himself. Friendly black cat likes to sip beer, perhaps not advisable in these virus days.
My sausage and mash with peas was reasonably priced £8
But the mash was Smash and the peas left a curious metallic taste in my mouth.
Landlord of Red Lion further on says he is short of staff so can only take a party of six at most. Also last food order is at 13.45 hrs.
So, bit of a food desert but a really gorgeous walk. Lots of mature woods with distant views in the bright spring sunshine.

Anonymous said...

Confucius says "Bring sandwiches"
Confucius also says "Thames Path likely to be more Thames than Path"

Walker said...

N=18 on this walk, a good turnout for a western walk, I would say. We set off in sunny-ish weather and quite spring-like temperatures. The ground was still very muddy in places, but surprisingly dry in many others. In fact I would answer the first commenter on this post by saying that the mud seems to be starting to dry out at last, despite the recent rain.

We got to the Sun Inn at about 12.20. But as per some of the previous comments, it did not really impress either with its menu (pie and chips, fish and chips, beef burger and chips, spring rolls) or its lack of any evident enthusiasm for our business. I understand two did eat there and were not overjoyed with the quality of the food.

Others of us pressed on, having been told by the staff at the Red Lion that they did food till 1.45pm. We got there at 1.25 to find two of our group already eating, but to be told the kitchen had just shut. But they reopened it at our request and the food that came out was perfectly palatable. I would say this is the best lunch option on the walk, and it at least had some local customers (one, I have been asked to mention, with a grey parrot in a cage) and so is perhaps a more viable long term proposition than the other two pubs, at least on today’s showing.

Did I mention we saw a few wood anemones in the morning? Lots of bluebells to come were also in evidence. I heard greenfinches and chaffinches singing several times.

After lunch w=the-bright-skies-gave-way-to-grey-cloud. We got to Goring at 3.55, well in time for tea at Pierrepoints cafe, one might think. But no, it had closed its doors already (closing time now 4pm), so most went to the Miller of Mansfield. But three of us, later joined by two others, went to the Village Cafe, which has a good selection of cakes and a comfortable upstairs seating area, accessible to those who give the secret password. (It had a “closed” sign on it for the first three of us, but magically opened for the latter two - and when I went up to see them, other customers were also upstairs, so how had they got there?).

After joining those in the pub for a further drink, most went home but three of us set off at 5.45pm to walk the Thames Path to Pangbourne. This quickly proved to be flooded in places, so we diverted onto an inland lane, later joining the Thames Path on a more raised section. There were good views of the near full moon at first, but alas it was not yet fully dark on this section. Later when it was finally dark, the gaps in the clouds had closed. Still we had a nice walk and had time for a quick drink in one of Whitchurch’s pubs before catching the 7.53 (?) train home.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to the poster who did the route on Friday. Very useful comments. I actually found the lady in the Sun Inn to be very helpful. Tea for £1 and a choice of teabags. Not a venue for the foodies, though.