View across the Thame Valley, from near Albury

SWC Walk 190 - Thame Circular

15-May-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Oxfordshire Golf Club (I)

SWC Walk 190 - Thame Circular

15-May-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Rycote House, from near entrance gate

SWC Walk 190 - Thame Circular

15-May-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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The Prebendal, Thame

SWC Walk 190 - Thame Circular

15-May-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Thame Town Hall

SWC Walk 190 - Thame Circular

15-May-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Cornmarket, Thame

23-Aug-15 • Sean O'Neill

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A 280 heads for the Parkway station

23-Aug-15 • Sean O'Neill

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Thame Circular walk

Scenic ramble through quiet villages in the Thame Valley on the Oxon/Bucks border, north of the Chilterns.


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: Thu, 17-Jan-19

Date # Post
Sun, 23-Sep-18

Sunday walk: Thame Circular

SWC Walk 190
Full walk 13ml 21.0 km 3/10
Short walk 9.5 ml 15.25 km 1/10
An easy scenic ramble through the Thame valley on the Ox/Bucks border, partly following the Oxfordshire Way and later the waymarked Thame Valley Walk. The full walk heads north to lunch in Worminghall or Ickford. The shorter version cuts out these villages and descends to the Thame River which is followed – partly along a dismantled railway line – to a lunch pub in Shabbington. There is a short bus ride (frequent service) at the start and finish of the walk.
Travel: Get the 10:04 Oxford train from Marylebone, arriving Haddenham and Thame Parkway 10:39
Then catch a 280 bus to Thame (Oxford direction) from outside the station. There's one at 10:45 arriving about 10:50 (buses are two an hour, later three an hour – a return costs about £4)
Trains return at xx:13 and xx:38 with a slower one at xx:40. Get a return to Haddenham and Thame Parkway.
Lunch: For the full walk the recommended stop is The Clifden Arms, Worminghall (01844 338 429), then, later, The Rising Sun, Ickford (01844 339 238).
On the shorter walk you have The Old Fisherman, Shabbington, (01844 201 247)
Tea: Thame has numerous pubs - see notes. Treacles Tea Rooms 12 High Street, 01844 260 840) is open till 17:00. Rumseys Chocolaterie is open till 17.30.
Directions here
Did this walk solo next day to avoid the rain. Fine and interesting as far as Ickford when the large fields began. Lovely thatched lunch pub (Clifden Arms) closed for refurbishment after being bought by three of its regulars, due to reopen in October. Return leg is almost all large fields many with large herds of spooky looking cows. Next time I’d reverse the morning shortcut at The Old Fisherman, Shabbington and then re walk the morning route. Bus is £4.10 return.
Sat, 20-May-17 11

Thame Circular - a sea of buttercups (hopefully...)

SWC walk 190 - Thame Circular
Length: 15.3km (9.5 miles) or 21km (13 miles)
Toughness: 1 out of 10 (3 out of 10 longer walk)

10.05 (Banbury) train from Marylebone to Haddenham and Thame Parkway, arriving 10.40.

Go very quickly to the adjacent bus stop (on the same side of the station, just by the exit) for the 10.43 bus to Thame (number 280, destination Oxford), arriving 10.55. This connection worked last year: if you miss the bus, the next one is in 20 minutes.

Buy a day return to Haddenham and Thame Parkway, and a return on the bus if that is cheaper than two singles

For walk directions click here: for GPX file click here.

This very gentle (almost flat) walk made a glorious outing this time last year with great golden acres of buttercups (see photo) and cow parsley turning every verge white. I realise that travel north of London puts some off, so I have made the train as late as possible.

Since I suspect all the speedy walkers will be off in Scotland, I also propose that we do the very pleasant shorter version of this walk (9.5 miles), which has a lovely pub - the Old Fisherman in Shabbington - as its lunch stop. This is 5.9 miles into the walk and is a popular place, but serves food all afternoon, so arriving towards the end of lunchtime, as we probably will do, might not be a bad idea.

Doing the shorter walk also gives you time to appreciate the pretty market town of Thame, which is the start and finish of this walk. This has some nice tea rooms and is worth a wander.

Buses back to Haddenham and Thame Parkway go at 18, 38 and 58 past till 18.38, then at 19.02, 19.32, 20.02, 20.32 (etc: there are later buses). Note that the 38 past bus does not have a train connection, however: the 18 past connect to 38 past trains, while the 58 past connects to 13 past trains. The 19.02 and 20.02 have a tight connection to a 13 past train, while the 19.32 and 20.32 have an even tighter one to the 41 past.

11 sunny cloudy light shower sunny cloudy etc Buttercups a plenty. Cow parsley, too. Most went for the short walk. Directions could do with at least one tweak, if only for my sake. I spent a good half hour near Old Paddock wood, backwards and forwards, thinking I was lost when I wasn’t. The Old Fisherman was friendly (it's a pub, not a wierdo!) Can’t comment on the food – I didn’t have any. And the pint of Abbot I galumphed down hardly touched the sides. A field near the end had small coppers flitting around in it (butterflies ,not diminutive policemen). Got to Thame just too late for the xx:18. It started raining heavily, but, luckily, there was a Sainsbury’s, a bus shelter, and H&T has a large waiting room on the London bound platform .
Sainsbury's??? Rumsey's! Chocolate cake!!
I wasnt in cake tea or chocolate mode, I was in "get yourself home" mode
Also saw the small coppers. Very exciting to see one, let alone so many.
Yes very colourful if small, Thought they were some sort of day flying moth at first.
Sat, 28-May-16 3

Saturday Second Walk - Gentle fields, buttercups and an ancient town

SWC Walk 190 - Thame Circular
Length: 21km (13 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10

9.05 (Oxford Parkway-bound) train from Marylebone to Haddenham & Thame Parkway, arriving 9.40. *** Go quickly to the bus stop *** in the front forecourt of the station for the 9.43 bus 280 (destination Oxford) to Thame, arriving 9.54. If you miss this, the next bus is the 10.03 arriving 10.14.

Buy a day return to Haddenham and Thame Parkway. You will also come back on the bus from Thame so get a return for this journey too if it is cheaper.

For walk directions click here.

I know this walk had an outing just two weeks ago on a Sunday, but as it has not otherwise been put on since 2013 I thought that Saturday walkers may fancy a pop at it. It was the words "gentle rolling landscape with fields packed with buttercups" which caught my eye from the walk report two weeks ago, since I was looking for a buttercup-rich walk. Thame is also apparently a charming place to start and finish the walk and the walk also passes through "various quiet villages".

There are two lunch options 11.9km/7.4 miles and 13.3km/8.3 miles in, which explains the early train. Thame does not seem to lack tea options.

To return from Thame you once again take the 280 bus (destination Aylesbury this time: from outside the Town Hall):
- The best choice is at 15 past the hour, arriving at Haddenham and Thame Parkway station at 21 past, connecting with the 38 past train which takes 40 minutes to Marylebone.
- You can also get the 55 past bus, which gets to the station at 02 past the hour and connects with the 13 past train, but this takes 54 minutes to Marylebone and so arrives only 11 minutes earlier than the next 38 past train.

These times are valid until 18.55: after that buses are at 19.26, 19.54, 20.24, 20.54, 21.39 (etc): you might want to check how these connect with trains if you plan to come back this late.

any reason why this walk starts so early? Any options for a later start?
It is 7 or8 miles to the lunch pub and the bus connection at the start is quite tight. If one misses that one is delayed by 20 minutes.
If you plan to do the optional 3.6km extension you'd need to get the 9.05 train. Otherwise the 10:05 train would probably be fine for brisk walkers, especially if you take the short cut to the Rising Sun in Ickford and cut out the stretch to Worminghall and back. On a recent Sunday we started from Thame after 11:00am and reached Ickford before 2:00pm.
OK, just 3 on this walk, but the rest of you missed a treat. The weather was hot and sunny with just a bit of white cloud in the early afternoon. And there was field after field after field intensely carpeted with buttercups, great white drifts of cow parsley lining every path and lane, and huge dollops of hawthorn blossom on every hedgerow. In short, the perfect late May walk. (I will post some photos on Flickr and our Facebook page.)

The tight bus connection to Thame worked fine as the bus stop is in the station forecourt, so we started walking at about 10am. But we still did not get to lunch before 1pm, so the early train seemed justified. If anyone decided to get a train an hour later we never saw them (if you did, put up a separate report).

We thought the morning half of the walk was the more interesting bit: despite few contours on the map it managed to display a variety of pleasant scenery. By contrast in the afternoon there were a lot of large flat fields, and the end of the afternoon the charm of wading through enormous knee high meadows began to wear off a bit.

For lunch we skipped the recommended lunch pub in Worminghall and took the shortcut to the second pub in Ickford (this was mainly my doing: I had a cold and fancied a slightly shorter walk: my companions would have done the main walk had I not swayed them). This pub turned out to be EMPTY, a nice change after the fully booked pubs of recent weeks, but a bit worrying from a business point of view. Their food was perfectly nice so I don't know why they did not have more punters.

We went to Treacles in pretty Thame for a "proper" tea, glad to avoid the dreaded Costa and got the 17.15 bus, again with swift train connections.

All in all a lovely walk....but I am not sure I would want to do it in winter.
Sun, 15-May-16 8

Sunday Walk 2 - The Thame Valley in Oxfordshire

Extra Walk 190 Thame Circular
Length: 21km (13 miles), or 15.2km (9.4 miles). Toughness: 3/10

09:43 Stratford-upon-Avon train from Marylebone arriving at Haddenham & Thame Parkway at 10:34. Then catch a 280 bus at 10:53 from the station forecourt to the centre of Thame, arriving at 11:02

Return trains are at xx:13 and xx:38, (journey times 55 minutes and 43 minutes respectively). Connecting buses from Thame to the station are at xx:23 and xx:53, taking 7 minutes

This is a scenic and easy walk north of the Chilterns through fields and quiet villages in the Thame valley on the Oxon/Bucks border. This is the first Sunday outing for the main walk, which has not been done since its first outing in 2013. An option to shorten the walk to 15.2km is provided. There is also an optional 3.9km extension in the morning but that would get you to the lunch pubs rather too late unless you take the Oxford Parkway train from Marylebone at 09:05 and start the walk an hour earlier, expecting to meet the main group in one of the lunch pubs.

The recommended lunch pubs are the Clifden Arms (01844 339273) in Worminghall after 7.4 miles, or The Rising Sun (01844 339238) in Ickford after 8.3 miles. If you choose the short option, the lunch pub is The Old Fisherman (01844 201247) in Shabbington after 5.9 miles.

You will need to download the Walk Directions.

9.05 train, long version, Clifden Arms (really nice pub, from memory) for me
I plan to go and will do the shorter option.
10:05 Oxford Parkway train arrives at Haddenham & Thame Parkway at 10:39, thus connecting with the 10:53 bus into Thame. So there's no advantage in getting the 09:43 train. Sorry I didn't spot that earlier.
8 on this walk but between us we did about 4 different versions: 2 started earlier to do the extended walk; 2 arrived on different trains to do the main walk; 3 did the short walk and 1 (me the contrarion) did the short walk but did not catch any buses and walked from and back to the station taking a bespoke route through fields so a special tick for me (;>) and ended up doing about 13 miles anyway. (I caught up with the short walkers at the end of the golf course section.)

The weather was fine and sunny throughout the day and all enjoyed this attractive ramble through a gentle rolling landscape with many fields packed with buttercups and dandelions. The Old Fisherman pub was packed and service was inevitably slow but decent quality food. Thame has an interesting High Street with loads of pubs but the independent cafes close so early so I ended up having refreshments at a Costas before walking back to the station. A terrific day out in a much under rated area for good walking.
Sun, 23-Aug-15 8

Sunday Walk 2 – A gentle Oxfordshire ramble

Extra Walk 190 – Thame Circular
Length: 21 km (13 miles), with shorter options. Toughness: 3/10

09:49 Banbury train from Marylebone, arriving Haddenham and Thame Parkway at 10:38. Outside the station catch an Arriva 280 bus due at 10:53 for the short journey to Thame High Street, arriving at 11:03.

Return buses from Thame to the Parkway station are half-hourly at 23 & 53 minutes past the hour to 17:23, then 18:07, 18:51 and hourly at around xx:45 through the evening. The trains back to Marylebone are also half-hourly (at xx:14 & xx:47), so you shouldn't have too long to wait.

This “scenic and gentle ramble” from a historic market town seems to have been unfairly neglected since its début two years ago. The bus connections are a minor nuisance but the service is half-hourly and it's a short journey to and from the start; in fact the OS Map page on the SWC site shows a possible walking route.

I suggest you use the 15 minute wait for the bus to choose one of the three lunch pubs and call ahead to check it's not fully booked. The author's recommendation is the Clifden Arms in Wormingshall, which essentially commits you to the full 21 km as it's the furthest out. A more flexible option is the Rising Sun in Ickford, which would let you take a short cut bypassing Wormingshall (not mentioned in the Introduction but described in the directions). If you decide to do a significantly shorter walk of about 15 km (Shortcut I) your lunch stop would be the Old Fisherman in Shabbington.

An advantage of taking one of these short cuts is that you're certain to be in time for tea at Rumsey's Chocolaterie in Thame, a name familiar from its much-praised outlet in Wendover. The other tea rooms (including the appropriately-named Timeout Café) are closed on Sundays but the walk document lists a faintly alarming number of pubs so you won't leave Thame thirsty.

You'll need to print the directions from this pdf document. T=SWC.190
8 cloudy then wet then sunny
7 on the train, 4 of whom decided to start walking from the station, 3 got the bus and an 8th met up in Thame High St.
The 4’s cunning plan was to start walking early before the 3 o’clock rain came. Their plan wasn’t cunning enough, however. The 3 o’clock rain came at about 11:30. It was heavy and prompted a switch to the Shabbington shortcut for all except one. The pub there, The Old Fisherman, seemed fine but only one ate. The rest just drank.
The rain cleared after lunch and we made our way first to a church with enormous buttresses. Then on, through a hunting estate, and across countless fields with stiles. A herd of young cattle followed us through one large field. They were more inquisitive than dangerous but did seem to be practising their stampede manoeuvres. I was volunteered to walk at the back and wave my arms about from time to time, which, of course, I was very happy to do. :(
Later, approaching Thame, the majority of the walk opted to walk back to the station. They had a map so they could do things like that. 2 of us continued on the proper walk, almost tripping over a Bee Gee’s grave on the way in. (Bee Gee Robin is buried in the churchyard within sight of his house).
We continued into Thame passing a few open teashops, driven by a hunger for Rumseys chocolate cake (with a raspberry coulis) and coffee. A hunger that was eventually sated.

Sat, 05-Oct-13 Thame Circular