Circular and Linear Walks

A view across the river from the Thames Path

Circular and Linear Walks

The Thames Path at Dorchester and Little Wittenham.

 

There are lovely walks of 2 miles or more from Dorchester to Day’s Lock, then along the Thames Path to the mouth of the Thame and back to Dorchester. Starting from the car park in Bridge End, close to where the Henley Road crosses the Thame in the shadow of the Abbey, walk down the road past the public toilets to the start of the village green. Cross the junction of lanes diagonally to go into Wittenham Lane and on to the footpath by the edge of a field. At the corner of the field, turn right along the path beside the Dyke Hills (the remains of an Iron Age settlement).  Recently, the path has been fenced on both sides - aesthetically unfortunate but makes the direction easier to follow.  The path meets the Thames Path, near Day’s Lock  at the foot bridge to Little Wittenham.  Here you have a choice: to cross over the river and climb to Wittenham Clumps (1 mile) to enjoy the magnificent views (photo1) . Or turn left along the Thames Path for a circular walk. After a mile along the Thames Path, you reach the bridge (photo 2) across the River Thame which flows from Aylesbury.  

 

For the shortest route back to Dorchester, turn left before the bridge and walk between the wire fences back to Wittenham Lane and the car park to complete 2 miles.  A better way (although a mile longer) is to cross the bridge through a gate and look at the information board built by the Hurst Meadow Trust. There is a grassy path along the riverside meadow on the east side of the Thame, which leads you to the Henley Road. Cross this road to Overy Lane. At the end of the lane, a footpath sign shows the way beside the mill to Hurst Meadow. Walk across or around Hurst Meadow, which is an island in the Thame, to return to Dorchester High Street via Manor Farm Road and Queen Street.  There is a good choice of places to eat in Dorchester, and the Abbey is well worth a visit.



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Distance:  approximately 3.5 miles/ 5.6 km
This walk starts at Windsor Bridge, crosses the River Thames walking towards Eton and passes Eton College Boat House on to The Brocas. This is a wide open meadow where Local farmers can still exercise their Lammas Rights by grazing their cattle here in August. On this walk there is the most splendid view of Windsor Castle, the largest
inhabited castle in Europe. Please download the leaflet and map below for further details.
 



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This is a 12 mile circular walk that can be started in Abingdon, Culham or Clifton Hampden.   It goes around the large loop that Thames makes along the Thames Path between Abingdon and Clifton Hampden, cuts across country by the Culham Science and Engineering Centre and returns to Abingdon along the Oxfordshire Greenbelt Way beside the river at Andersey island.   There is a shortcut making a shorter circular walk of 7 miles between Culham and Clifton Hampden.  

Getting there by public transport: bus to Abingdon or train to Culham station.  Car Parks: by Abingdon Bridge, Culham lock and the Barley Mow pub at Clifton Hampden.

Refreshment: plenty of choice in Abingdon, but elsewhere there is only the Barley Mow pub (very good) and a viilage shop at Clifton Hampden. Two other pubs along the way are now closed (2018).

The route: starting at Abingdon Bridge, take the Thames Path downstream (southwards, turning right if coming out of the town).  After 2 miles, you pass Culham lock. After another 3 miles, you reach Clifton Bridge.  If going to the Barley Mow, cross over the bridge and enter through its garden.  If you have taken your own picnic, the small area by the river on the downstream side of the bridge is an attractive spot. Continuing the circular walk from Clifton Bridge, go up the village street past the shop to the traffic lights. Cross the main road and turn left for 50 yards to a footpath on your right. This path goes behind houses and around two sides of a field.  The path becomes a hard-surfaced track around the edge of the Culham Science and Engineering Centre.  This is where research into nuclear fusion (the Jet Project) has been done.  In the Second World War, an airfield was here. Follow the boundary of the Centre around to the western side and look for a bridle path that crosses the railway line. This railway bridge is the point where the shortcut to Culham starts.   If continuing on the longer circular walk to Abingdon (the signpost says 3 miles), turn right (northwards) to walk beside the railway down to the Thames. At the river bank, turn left and follow the river for about a mile. Then the path turns away from the river for a few yards before crossing one of the sidestreams of the Thames. This stream, called the Swift Ditch, was the original navigation channel and there are the remains of a lock, one of the first every built on the Thames, close to the footbridge over the stream.   The path goes through a small wood. Then bear right to get back to the river bank and the path past moored boats to reach Abingdon lock. Here you meet the Thames Path again and Abingdon Bridge is in sight.

The shortcut: When you have left the Culham Science Centre and crossed the railway by a brdle path, continue straight on in a westerly direction. This is Thame lane which was probably an ancient way connecting the towns of Abingdon and Thame. The bridle path becomes a road and passes the European School to reach the main road. From the traffic lights on the far side of the road, go down the road signposted to Sutton Courtney to reach Culham Bridge, the lock and the Thames Path.



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This is a good walk of 3 miles that adds interest to a visit to the village of Buscot which is looked after by the National Trust.  Use the National Trust car park, and walk down the road to Buscot Weir and Lock. The meadow on the right side of the road is a lovely place for a picnic. As you approach the weir, you pass a foot path on your left that leads to the church - worth a diversion if you have time -  and then the entrance to a boat yard. The boat yard is on a former industrial site called Brandy Island, as explained in the excellent information board by the lock.  The path to the lock is on the right side,passing a tiny cottage (available for holiday lets)  in an idyllic spot by the weir. 

For the circular walk, follow the Thames Path down-river towards Kelmscott for a mile and a half until you reach a foot bridge that crosses the river to the Anchor Boat Club. The white building was once an inn.  There is a public right of way through the Boat Club and along the farm track. About 250 yards along the track, a foot path on the right side leaves at an angle up a gentle slope towards a tree and a gate in the hedge. This path is indicated in places by posts with  yellow fingers.  After four fields the path reaches a bend in the A417 road. Fortunately, the circular walk avoids the road, because it goes down the track to your right. Just before the house down this track, there is a footpath running along the edge of the garden. This leads back to the meadow by Buscot Weir.  Now you have earned a cup of tea and some of the delicious food in the village cafe (the former post-office) near the car park.  There are toilets close by. 

There are also good walks in the grounds of Buscot Park (National Trust) about a mile along the road to Faringdon.



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The Royal Geographical Society  created this self-guided geographical walk to explore Oxford’s fascinating network of waterways. Oxford is built on a series of islands and this walk is an opportunity to explore an intricate network of waterways that are often overlooked by visitors to the city. Discover mill streams and flood meadows, walk along an industrial canal and a working river, watch leisure boating and competitive rowing. Look for evidence in the names of neighbourhoods, streets, bridges and pubs giving clues to the watery history of this city.Discover why convicts from Oxford’s prison built many of Oxford’s canal, locks and other structures. Find out how the river was part of Oxford’s Town and Gown division. See which parts of Oxford’s rivers featured in works of literature including Alice in Wonderland, the adventures of Tom Brown and Three Men in a Boat.
Visit: http://www.discoveringbritain.org/walks/region/south-east-england/oxford-waterways.html



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The Village Route - B (2.5km). An easy going route around Cookham Village.

Permission may be sought from the landlord of The Crown to use his car park to drop passengers; the driver can then continue to the car park on the Moor. Other parking in and around the village is limited.The tarmaced route down Berries Road is sign-posted where the road gives way to footpaths which pass the Sailing Club on your left. Cross a newly-built bridge over a small inlet and the river is before you.

Before turning right at the sailing club, look out for the craft Monarch; her plaque bears testimony to her role as one of the thousands of small ships that made possible the evacuation and the saving of the lives of 300,000 men from Dunkirk in the early days of World War 2.

Besides the ever-present seagulls, therewill certainly be swans, ducks, moorhen, coots and the occasional great crested grebe. The riverbank is also a favoured mooring site. The route goes through the churchyard to the famous11th century Church of Holy Trinity, a much-loved centre of an active parish life and one-time home of Stanley Spencer’s famous painting of The Last Supper.

In Cookham Village there is the Stanley Spencer Gallery, once a Methodist chapel and now the home of Spencer’s The Last Supper. Along the High Street, there's the 14th century coaching inn, Bel and The Dragon and the 17th century King’s Arms. The names of the houses - The Old Apothecary, The Moorings - and a one-time butcher’s tiled facia established 1775 - give
a clue to the past and varied occupations of the erstwhile villagers featured in Spencer’s famous
paintings.



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Distance: 3.6 miles / 5.8km / 4.3 miles /7km
Time: 2hrs / 2.5hrs

This walk gives you the option of taking a short or longer walk. The Cotswold Water Park is an area of 40 square miles, with more than 150 lakes, set across the countryside of Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and West Oxfordshire.
Experience the various landscapes of the Water Park in one walk. A delightful woodland trail by the Swill Brook, then across open meadows to the infant River Thames, and crystal clear lakes. Great wildlife all year round with dragonflies in summer, nightingales in Spring and a wonderful variety of visiting waterbirds in Winter.

Visit: www.waterpark.org/things-to-do/walking/



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Route 1 - 4 miles:
After leaving Eynsham through the old Abbey grounds and walking on through fields and meadows and along a stream, you join the Thames Path at Pinkhill Lock where, in 1791, the old flashlock was replaced with a pound lock. The return walk along the Thames leads you towards the elegant Georgian Swinford Toll Bridge, built in 1767. The Talbot Inn is on your right just over the bridge on the return to Eynsham village.
Car parking in the centre of Eynsham. Proceed down Clover Place or Back Lane - free at the time of writing.
Refreshments: A number of shops and public houses are located in Eynsham. For other walks and further details visit Oxfordshire County Council's website.



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Route 2 - 8 miles
This route follows the Thames Path for a little over half the walk, taking a recommended short detour of a couple of hundred yards to stop off for refreshment at the famous Trout Inn at Godstow, overlooking the river. The return route takes you across pretty meadows and skirts Wytham Great Wood to rejoin the Thames Path, bringing you back across Swinford Toll Bridge  or alternatively cross the Eynsham lock. The Talbot Inn is on your right just over the bridge on the return to Eynsham.

Car parking in the centre of Eynsham. Proceed down Clover Place or Back Lane - free at the time of writing.
Refreshments: A number of shops and public houses are located in Eynsham.For details of walks visit Oxfordshire County Council's website.



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Distance 5.5 miles / 8.85 km.
The route takes you through a variety of scenery from water meadows beside the River Thames to the chalk grassland and yew woodland on the slopes of the Hartslock Nature Reserve. There are no stiles and the walk is fairly flat until the incline up Hartslock Hill. Beware: the Thames floods low ground here during the winter. Before you set out, check the Environemnt Agency Floodline 0845 9881188. For further information on the Hartslock Reserve, please visit www.hartslock.org.uk. This is a reserve managed by BBOWT.



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Plan your visit to the Trail on our interactive map
Plan your visit using our Interactive Map.
Where to stay, great days out & lots to do!