Woodland bouquet

Going Circular via Hill Bottom

02-May-15 • moontiger on Flickr

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Wild Garlic

Going Circular via Hill Bottom

02-May-15 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks goingviawoodcote walk243


Going Circular via Hill Bottom

02-May-15 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks goingviawoodcote walk243

Green Alkanet

Going Circular via Hill Bottom

02-May-15 • moontiger on Flickr

pretty book3 swcwalks walk243


Going Circular via Hill Bottom

02-May-15 • moontiger on Flickr

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Ivied tree

Going Circular via Hill Bottom

02-May-15 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks goingviawoodcote walk243


Going Circular via Hill Bottom

02-May-15 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks goingviawoodcote swcwalk243 walk243

Goring circular via Hill Bottom walk

Rolling Chilterns countryside, forest trails, quiet country lanes and 3 pubs


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Fri, 07-Dec-18

Date # Post
Wed, 18-Apr-18 17

The Chilterns and the Thames Valley: Goring Circular (via Hill Bottom) or to Pangbourne

Length: 18.0 km (11.1 mi) or 25.0 km to Pangbourne
Ascent/Descent: 350m
Net Walking Time: ca. 4 hours or 5 ½ hours to Pangbourne
Toughness: 4 out of 10
Take the 10.15 Cardiff Central service from Paddington (change Reading 10.40/10.51), arriving Goring & Streatley 11.05.
With Railcards other than Network RC: take the 09.57 Didcot Parkway service (this may show as a ‘Cholsey’ train at Paddington), stops Ealing B’way 10.05.
Return trains: xx.12, xx.40, xx.44 (4 mins later from Pangbourne).
Buy a Goring & Streatley return in any case.
First Wednesday outing for this walk…
It is a mix of beautiful, rolling Chilterns countryside, forest trails and quiet country lanes. Passes through some bluebell woods, but will the wee blighters be out yet?
Walk Option: from Goring station find the Thames Path and continue along it (with the water on your right hand side) to Whitchurch and thence across the Thames to Pangbourne station.
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. There is some talk on previous postings that walk-in custom will not be fed, but I can’t see anything to that tune on their website. But if that is true, then there are other options…
The Red Lion (trad village pub fare) and The Plaice (fish & chips), in Woodcote (11.9 km/7.4 mi, food to 14.00 at both establishments). As long as you beat a 4 km/h average pace…
Tea: Plenty of options in Goring (a little beyond the station) and in Whitchurch/Pangbourne. For details see the pdf. T=swc.243
is there anyone going?
It's been a long winter. And March and April have also been really wet. And then, within a few days, we get to this: warm but not hot and with a breeze, the blackthorn blooming, the rape oil seed fields starting to turn yellow, some butterflies about (yellow ones and some brown ones) and lots of flowers in the woods (yellow, white and blue ones, which means Celandines, Wood Anemones and Bluebells, I'm reliably told). 'tis the best time of the year for walking, in my book.
In light of the temperatures we walked at medium pace and almost all arrived at the lunch pub, the much maligned Sun Inn, before 13.00 hours. After a recent particularly negative experience on the Pangbourne Circ walk, one walker had insisted calling them ahead to make sure they had ample food available this time. So we were a little apprehensive, but without any reason: the service was quick and friendly, the food arrived reasonably quickly and was of good quality, so much so that even some of the more gastro critical Wednesday regulars confessed to be happy with it all. New staff maybe?
The sandwichers, who had rested patiently outside in the sun, moved on when they saw some lunchers ordering desserts or coffee and most were never seen again. At Goring, of my sub group of 6 people, 3 opted for the extension to Pangbourne along one of the better stretches of the Thames Path (with hills!), and rounded off the day at The Swan's terrace by the river weir with a refreshing drink.
A varied route with some fine views, a nice mix of woods and fields. And the woods were not too densely canopied, so the sun broke through all the time. A very fine day.
Bluebell Index: early on about 1 out of 20 out and about half of those with bells open, later hardly any out, then towards the end (High Wood especially) almost all out and almost all bells open, so there it is only a few days to 'Peak Bluebell'. 17
... and ladybirds, how could I forget them?
Sat, 19-Aug-17 9

Goring Circular via Hill Bottom

Goring Circular via Hill Bottom T=swc.243

Length: (11.3 miles) (18km). Toughness: 4/10. If it's a fine evening, there is an extension down a scenic stretch of the Thames Path to Whitchurch and Pangbourne adding 4.5m (7km). Be aware that from 1930 trains are not stopping at Pangbourne and there is a 10 minute journey on a connecting replacement bus to Tilehurst, so check the train times.

Apologies for not spotting this was posted last Sunday.
This is different from the original Goring Circular, passing through gently hilly territory just to the north of Book 1, walk 4 Pangborne Circular. The walk description promises "beautiful rolling Chilterns countryside, forest trails and quiet country lanes".

Trains: get the 1015 Cheltenham train from London Paddington, changing at Reading (arr 1040) for the Goring train 1053 arriving 1107. Alternatively the direct 0957 train calling at Ealing Broadway 1005. Return trains are xx12 & xx42 up to 2042, then 2108, changing at Reading for a faster train to Paddington. Buy a return to Goring & Streatley.

Lunch: The recommended pub is the Sun Inn (5m or 8.2km), but you might want to take note of the following walk feedback: "We had both brought sandwiches so we bypassed the Sun Inn by taking a slightly shorter route to reach Woodcote where we had our lunch on a bench overlooking the huge Green and cricket pitch before popping into the Red Lion (7.5m or 12.2km) for a drink. The pub is a real 1970s throwback carpeted floors, a few old regulars, an open fire and meals for around £7; excellent." So not a gastro pub. The instructions are in the latest PDF walk directions here.

Tea: The Swan is being refurbished. As well as those in the directions, I like the Catherine Wheel in Station Road, which is reached via a left turn after the railway bridge down Red Cross Road, or by a left just after The Village Cafe. You can get to the station from Station Road, crossing the footbridge to get the London trains.

The Sun Inn only serves meals to people and groups who have pre booked. Drop in customers will not be served food. I don't know how much notice they need.

My advice, having done this walk last Sunday, is to bypass the Sun Inn using the shortcut and eat at the Red Lion which is friendly and serves big portions. Best to give them a ring beforehand too. When back at Goring treat yourself to tea and cakes at either the Village cafe or Pierreponts both excellent and then take a lovely early evening stroll along the Thames Path back to Pangbourne (4.5m). Finish with a meal/drinks in one of the fine pubs in Whitchurch or Pangbourne. There I've sorted your day out for you! Enjoy your walk.
This walk was featured last Sunday, literally 6 days ago. Pity it comes up again so soon after last outing.
Hi #2 Anonymous, Tue 15 Aug 17, 21:06
Re your comment below
You could offer to post if you don't like what is being given
Luckily you still have two other walks to choose from on the Saturday posting and of course a plethora of other clubs, meetup and Ramblers etc from which you can also choose

To the posters thank you for all your hard work and don't let the petty whingers get you down, your work is appreciated

To # 3, Happy to be a walk poster if I can get away with the same walk every week 52 weeks a year! Thank you for posting this walk.
Just to let you know that following last Sunday's outing I have up dated the pdf file for this walk including a short cut that bypasses the Sun Inn at Hill Bottom if you have not pre booked a meal there. This means you should reach the Red Lion at Woodcote at a reasonable time; ie before 1.30pm.
Apropos the issue about the walk being set so soon after its last outing: Saturday and Sunday groups are often completely different so I hope there is a good turn out on Saturday with the weather looking good.
9 on this pleasant, heavily wooded walk. We took the short cut, missing out the Sun Inn to eat at the Red Lion, which we discovered finishes food at 1400 (1200 1400 Tues Sun no food Monday), with about 20 minutes to spare. I would suggest pub lunchers check out the Black Lion we just went straight past it.
From my latest researches the Black Lion does not serve food so unless you pre book some time in advance for a meal at the Bell the Red Lion in Woodcote is your lunch pub option.
Sun, 13-Aug-17 7

Exploring the West Chilterns

SWC 243 Goring Circular via Hill Bottom

Length 18km (11.3m); toughness 4/10.


Either a slow stopping train from Paddington 09.48 ( Ealing Broadway 09.57) arriving at Goring and Streatley 10.59 or take a fast train from Paddington at 10.00 arriving at Reading at 10.36 to pick up the above slow train at 10.45.

Return trains from Goring and Streatley to London Paddington at xx:00 or xx:01 past the hour. You may care to change at Reading for a fast train back to Paddington but these trains are often very busy.

This is a walk of rolling countryside, woods and quiet country lanes with the three pubs. You should also be in time to visit the Village cafe in Goring for tea and cakes.

Click here for the walks page and the pdf for the full walk instructions.t=swc.243
Six off the designated train but one other walker who started an hour later appeared at Goring station at the end of the walk(?) so 7. Weather was warm sunny some cloud in the afternoon.
I posted this walk to check a stretch which has been overgrown in the past and up date any other details. Firstly the old and long derelict former Railway inn by Goring statsion has now been transformed into a Tesco Direct ideal for buying stuff before the walk or for refreshments for the journey home. The designated lunch time pub the Bell Inn now only provides meals if you have booked ahead (Is this a developing business plan for pubs now?) and drop in custom will not be served meals. We walked on to the Red Lion getting there just in time for their 2.15pm cut off point for meals and their huge portions and friendly service were much appreciated. I had a sandwich and watched a cricket match on the green which the pub overlooks.
In the afternoon we enjoyed the quiet tracks and woodland glades getting back to Goring at around 4.30 where 4 of the group went to the station whilst 2 of us ambled to the Village cafe for delicious tea, cakes and scones. Fired up by the tea and cake and feeling rested I decided to do the lovely 4.5m Thames path stretch to Pangbourne which is a superb coda to any walk ending in Goring. Timed just right to catch a train at 7.06pm.
Superb day out in brilliant company (all women) with the best moment when a young boy in an approaching family group asked his father on seeing us "are these people high walkers". No son his father replied they are hikers. From now on I'm a high walker!
I'll be up dating the pdf for this walk.
Sun, 16-Oct-16 2

Sunday Walk 1 – The rolling Chilterns countryside

Extra Walk 243 – Goring Circular via Hill Bottom
Length: 18 km (11.3 miles). Toughness: 4/10

10:00 Weston-super-Mare train from Paddington, changing at Reading for the Oxford train (arr 10:34, dep 10:46), arriving Goring at 10:59. If you get to Paddington early you can take the same Oxford train at 09:45 (Ealing Broadway 09:53) and not need to change. Buy a return to Goring & Streatley.

Trains back are hourly at 32 minutes past. Because of engineering works along the line it doesn't look as if you can save much time by changing at Reading for a non-stop train to Paddington.

This walk had a couple of Saturday outings last year but this is its first Sunday posting. Unlike the SWC's first Goring walks this one ranges over the undulating hills to the east of the river, with just a small overlap with Book 1's Walk 4 (Pangbourne Circular) around Hill Bottom. The Sun Inn here is the suggested lunch pub, with two later alternatives in Woodcote. Goring has several nice pubs to revive you before the journey home, and feedback from last year's walk said that the Village Café in its High Street was open to 5pm on Sundays: if someone could confirm this I'm sure the walk author will update the document to include it.

The walk document suggests a possible 7 km extension along the Thames Path to Whitchurch and Pangbourne, but at this time of year you'd have to keep up a brisk pace to avoid finishing in the dark (sunset is at 6:08pm). If you decide to do this, trains back from Pangbourne are at 37 minutes past.

For more information about the walk and a link to the Directions, OS Map, etc, go to the Extra Walk 243 page. T=swc.243
Remembering the old SWC proverb "early rain in the Great Wen means fine weather after ten" I travelled to Goring but only 1 other was at the station so just 2 set off in sunny and mild conditions which we enjoyed for the entire day. (OK there was one 30 second shower in the afternoon whilst walking through a wood.)

We had both brought sandwiches so we bypassed the Sun Inn by taking a slightly shorter route to reach Woodcote where we had our lunch on a bench overlooking the huge Green and cricket pitch before popping into the Red Lion for a drink. The pub is a real 1970s throwback carpeted floors, a few old regulars, an open fire and meals for around £7; excellent.

After lunch we continued along woodland trails and open field with some superb views of Didcot. Not much leaf colour and some beeches looked positively verdant and we were a bit surprised to see a dragonfly!

We reached Goring early enough to catch the 15.32 but decided in the interests of research (and cake) to check out the Village Cafe which had a superb range of delicious confectionaries but their pots of tea could be a bit larger. After taking a photo of the weir and river for the walks page we ambled back to catch the 16.32. A fine days walking and glad I was not put off by the rain in London.
Sat, 28-Nov-15 19

Saturday Second Walk - Nearly new Goring walk

SWC Walk 243 - Goring Circular via Hill Bottom
Length: 18km (11.3 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.20 train from Paddington (9.29 Ealing Broadway) to Goring & Streatley, arriving 10.36

For walk directions click here.

It is hard to keep up with all the new walks these days. This one had its SWC debut in May, but it passed under my radar and perhaps under yours too.

It explores completely different territory from the original Goring Circular, passing through gently hilly territory just to the north of Book 1, walk 4 Pangborne Circular. The walk description promises "beautiful rolling Chilterns countryside, forest trails and quiet country lanes".

There are a choice of earlier and later pub options - three in all - so cross fingers we can squeeze into one or other of them. Though it is a longish outing for a shorter winter's day, we seem to whizz through walks these days and you are getting quite an early start. (Bring a torch just in case, though.) An incentive to get a move on is the chance to get to the lovely Pierrepoints Cafe in Goring before its 5pm close. If not, other hostelries are available.

Trains back from Goring are at 12 and 42 past and take 1 hour 20 minutes. You can in theory shave 15 minutes off this on the 12 past train by changing to a fast London service at Reading.
There is no Hammersmith and City or Circle eastwards from Edgware Road this weekend, and no District or Circle south from it either. So the only way to Paddington from these directions will be the Bakerloo
Yes I hope to do this walk.As stated in walk details the lunch options are very simple but good.jfk
The planned train was cancelled due to an alert at Paddington. The 6 who showed up at Goring 40 mins late were mostly Ealing Broadway starters. Maybe Paddington non starters came up with a plan B. mostly dry occasional light rain a bit blowy Four raced off and were not seen again. That left 2 more leisurely walkers. Going was slow thanks to a liberal but shallow coating of slippery mud. And directions through Gt Chalk Wood still managed to confuse. We made it to the Sun by two. After lunch we two did a wicked thing. We disobeyed instructions and switched to the last half of the Pangbourne Circular. For one this led to a quick finish in Pangbourne. For the other, a trip along the river back to Goring.
Correction to last post. 19 Yes, NINETEEN! It takes more than a fire alert causing a complete evacuation of Paddington to put us off, Ian T!!! After a half a hour delay in the lovely sunshine the specified train finally left but skipped stops to Slough to make up time. 12 of us started at Goring. Of the six on the Ealing Broadway train, "the four who rushed off" caught up with us mid morning and we added another walker briefly who had come by car.

A pleasant walk, all agreed. Despite some mud, plenty of tracks and lanes made it a good walk for winter. Gentle gradients, some nice views, woods. Directions OK but could be improved by adding more distances. Weather grey but quite mild with showers and some bright flashes. Most of us pushed on to the last possible lunch pub, the Red Lion, arriving there 2pm. This is not gastro as the walk directions would have it but served nice food reasonably fast.

We made it to Goring as the light was fading and some even made it to Pierrepoints tea room. Others explored the pubs. Some did both.
Thanks to Ian T for the comments in his e mail to me and to Walker for his points in the post below. I'll add this to my Spring/Summer 2016 to do list
Sat, 02-May-15

Saturday Third Walk

New Walk: Goring Circular via Hill Bottom, Woodcote and Cleeve

Length: 11.3 miles (or 16 miles if extended to Pangbourne)
Difficulty: 4 out of 10
Train: Take the 9:53 First Great Western Oxford train from London Paddington to Goring & Streatley, arriving at 11:06 (if you miss this train, you can also take the 10:06 Penzance train and change onto the above train at Reading arriving 10:29/departing 10:53). Return trains from Goring are at 12 and 42 past the hour until 20:42; then at 21:13 and 22:15 and are generally quicker if you change at Reading. If you extend the walk to Pangbourne the return trains are at 17 and 47 past the hour until 20:47; then there is a 21:18 (again quicker to change at Reading). Buy a day return to Goring & Streatley.
This is a brand new walk being taken on a test drive today. It covers completely different territory from our other Goring Circular walk (SWC 17). This picturesque walk encounters a beautiful mix of rolling Chiltern hills, forest trails and quiet country lanes. At this time of year, there should be some nice flower displays in the woods. After some refreshments in Goring, the walk can be extended by following the well-sign posted Thames Path from Goring to Pangbourne. You can also shorten the walk by catching the X40 bus in Woodcote to Reading (the bus runs hourly until late). More information and the instructions for the walk can be found here.
The recommended lunch stop is the Sun Inn at Hill Bottom (0118 984 2260), located 5 miles into the walk. Large groups should call from the station. A further 2.5 miles on, there are two pubs in Woodcote (the Red Lion and the Black Lion) which could serve as late lunch options or just a mid-afternoon watering hole.
The recommended tea stop is Pierreponts, a lovely cafe on the riverside in Goring. It is open until 5:00 pm on Saturdays. There are also a few pubs along the river in Goring.

Enjoy the walk!
I'll be doing the walk checking/amending the directions as I go. Any volunteers to help with this greatly appreciated.
I'll give it a go too Pete! On paper the instructions look great: I love a mixed narrative of landmarks and the occasional bearing thrown in. One thing which would be really helpful to rank amateurs like me would be if each paragraph were separately numbered (many a time you'll have heard the conversation... "Where are we now?" "Oh, we're at number 61"). See you Saturday!
I am hoping to come along and maybe able to do some walk checking.jfk
Train stops at Ealing Bdwy 10.04