Part-wooded ridges above the Thames Valley to lunch in Goring, shorter return along the Thames through meadows
16.0 km (10.0 mi). Cumulative Ascent/Descent: 203m. For a shorter or longer walk and an Alternative Ending, see below Walk Options.
3 out of 10. About 3 hours 45 minutes walking time. For the whole outing, including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 7 hours.
OS Landranger Map: 174 (Newbury & Wantage) [for a tiny slice of Goring] & 175 (Reading & Windsor)
OS Explorer Map: 171 (Chiltern Hills West)
Starting on the West Berkshire side of the Thames, this short walk links three pretty Thames-side villages via wooded ridges with splendid views. From Pangbourne you cross the river on the delightful Whitchurch toll bridge into Oxfordshire and ascend through Whitchurch-on-Thames and then some pastures to the highest point of the walk, with first scenic views down some pretty combes. The route follows the part-wooded ridge above the Thames Valley, with occasional splendid views of the valley and the Goring Gap between the Chilterns and the Berkshire Downs, before descending through a wildflower nature reserve and then leading along the valley bottom to Goring-on-Thames for lunch.
In the afternoon you return along the Thames Path Long Distance Trail, mainly through the river meadows, occasionally framed by wooded hills, then up through Hartslock Wood, and back down through Whitchurch and Pangbourne with its many tea options.
A finish in Goring-on-Thames, a modest extension in the morning, and a longer extension at the end of the walk along the Thames to Tilehurst station are possible.
This walk is based on a sketched walk originally developed by YHA Streatley (located across the river from Goring, beds from £15, rooms from £29 ). The original leaflet with its user-friendly drawn map is still available on the webpage under a separate tab.
Pangbourne station is on the original line of the Great Western Railway to Bristol, between Reading and Didcot Parkway. Journey times are from 63 minutes on a stopping service, and from 45 minutes if changing at Reading, and a bit longer on Sundays.
Saturday Walkers’ Club: Take the train closest to 10.00 hours.
The Sun Inn Hill Bottom, Whitchurch Hill, South Oxon, RG8 7PU (01189 842 260). The Sun Inn is located – 900m off-route the morning extension – 4.2 km (2.6 mi) into the extended walk. Open 12.00-15.00 and 17.00-23.00 Tue-Sat and 12.00-17.00 Sun. No food served on Tuesdays.
The John Barleycorn Manor Road, Goring on Thames, Reading, Berkshire, RG8 9DP (01491 872 509). The John Barleycorn is located 8.1 km (5.0 mi) into the walk. Open all day. Food served Mon-Tue 18.30-21.00, Wed-Sat 12.00-14.00 and 18.30-21.00, Sun 12.00-14.00.
The Catherine Wheel Station Road, Goring on Thames, Reading, Berkshire, RG8 9HB (01491 872 379). The Catherine Wheel is located 8.2 km (5.1) mi into the walk. Open all day. Food served ???.
The Village Café/Chocolate Café 9 The Arcade, High Street, Goring on Thames, Reading, Berkshire, RG8 9AY (01491 874 264). The Village Café is located 8.3 km (5.2) mi into the walk. It is now part of a mini-chain, in other places called The Chocolate Café. Open to 17.00 daily.
The Miller of Mansfield High Street, Goring on Thames, Reading, RG8 9AW (01491 872 829). The Miller is located 8.4 km (5.2 mi) into the walk. Open all day. Food served 12.00-14.00 daily, as well as 18.00-21.00 Mon-Sat and 17.00-19.00 Sun.
Pierreponts Café 1 High Street, Goring on Thames, Reading, RG8 9AB (01491 874 464). Pierreponts Café is located 8.6 km (5.3 mi) into the walk. Open Tue-Sat 08.00-17.00 and most Friday evenings 18.00-23.00 for dinner.
The Swan at Streatley High Street, Streatley on Thames, Reading, Berkshire, RG8 9HR (01491 878 800). The Swan is located 400m off-route, on the other side of the Thames, 9.0 km/5.6 mi into the walk. It is just completing a full refurbishment. Open all day every day.
Plenty of options in Whitchurch-on-Thames and Pangbourne. Check page 2 of the pdf for details.
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk