SWC Walk 61 - Reading to Henley
Length: 14.8km (9.2 miles)
Toughness: 1 out of 10 - entirely flat 9.57
train (a big mainline one, destination Bristol Temple Meads)
to Reading, arriving 10.25.
(From Ealing Broadway it is quicker to get a train into Paddington to connect wth the above, but if you want to travel direct there is a 9.13 stopping service that gets to Reading at 10.21).
Buy a day return to Reading
This is a very simple walk along the Thames Path, but there are a few places where you can go wrong, and these brief directions
ensure you do not do that.
Simple does not mean ordinary, however. I gave this walk a check in March and had a dreamy day out (see the first five photos on the walk's photo page
) and found lots to delight me. To begin with you are in the park-like surrounds of Reading but you soon escape into a quiet wooded section. Then past the delightful Sonning Lock
and to Sonning itself. The Bull Inn
here is a very charming and popular pub, but now has some competition from a new establishment by the river - the Coppa Club:
see walk directions for details.
After lunch you have to cross the river (one of the crucial directions in the walk document!) and then there is an isolated section where the river meanders between fields, before you come to Shiplake, with its charming riverside meadows. You are forced a bit "inland" here, and you could take an early train back from Shiplake after 11.1km (6.9 miles). There is even a pub here to act as a tea stop.
But better by far is to push on to Henley, on a route which takes you past posh houses and then out into a lovely watermeadow, past beautiful Marsh Lock and into Henley with its nice tea options.
Trains back from Henley are at 24 past
. Your return ticket to Reading may be accepted or you may have to pay a single for the relatively short hop from Reading to Twyford, where the two routes converge.