Cherstey to Kingston upon Thames

Great ! Awoke to the sound of rain on the roof of the van . I am still walking I exclaimed out loud , I know came the reply , cup of tea promptly put in my hand . Two Paracetamol later , I felt ready to face the world. The river outside rushing loudly through Chertsey weir. Day was to be fuelled by a breakfast of porridge with blueberries two cups of tea , one last look a the weir and I was off. I crossed back over the bridge and back on the path. Seriously was delighted to see a muddy path as I walked alongside Dumsley Down , lots of dog walkers around and I reached Shepperton Lock and wondered if the ferry would be running , well the boat was there but noone was in it . Decision made I would follow the alternative route , just needed to keep my eyes pealed for the acorn signs . 20minutes later , I crossed the road bridge to Walton on Thames . Buildings here were pretty along the side of the river , with lots of boat houses and boat yards.

The path then is gravel and I pass some water works machinary and along side the path is a victorian fencing and wall which looks like a perimeter to a larger water works estate. The path then followed along side a housing estate , many people out walking with children and dogs following to Hurst park , I could see the bridge and on the far side Hampton Court palace . I reached the bridge , I saw Aj and Dot waiting for me on the banks of the river near the Palace. We ate lunch together , Dot still hobbling poor thing , I know she would have walked with me if she could.

I left them and enjoyed the view of Hampton Court palace as I continued on to Kingston up on Thames , nice gravel path all the way and parakeets for company there were loads , bright green and very noisy . There were rowers on the river as I reached Kingston , where Aj picked me . Great trip and I am looking forward to continuing my journey in a couple of weeks so that I can finish the Thames path

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Windsor to Chertsey : 5th March – Lisa , Aj and Dot Adventure

Very excited that we could take off for a couple of days and crack on with the Thames path with AJ being support vehicle and Dot could come too.

Arrived at Windsor at about 10 o’clock and set off along the Thames . Aj was going to drive to Chertsey and walk to Staines , walk back with me to Cherstey.

The path was fine but to be honest the scenery was a bit bland , Dot and I walked the miles and went through Old Windsor along the road and then back on the path towards Runnymede a historically significant place with very little to show for it . If it hadn’t been raining , I may have gone up to the monument but it meant crossing a busy road . I ate my lunch whilst walking and found myself , approaching Bell Weir Lock and the M25 motorway bridge. At this lock there were several Asian tourists wandering around outside a Hotel . I wondered if the knew the significance of Runnymede and the Magna Carta , whether they thought all of England was like this and how they felt about being in a Hotel next to a motorway,at this point I got a text message off Aj saying he had seen a Kingfisher, I was a bit annoyed as I hadn’t seen one in the whole of my journey along the Thames , a few choices words were text back to him

As I continued along the side of the river next to suburban buildings going in to Egham , I approached the bridge crossing the river to Staines , I could just see Aj and two pints at the Slug and Lettuce pub. Dot was delighted to see him, unfortunately she had another 4 miles to walk before she could give up on the Thames path .

Aj showed me the Kingfisher he saw – it was a scupture , more choice words expressed , the rest of the walk to Chertsey remained unremarkable , we saw an urban fox , wandering around the riverside houses on the bank opposite, lots of swans .

The scenery towards Cherstey was mostly that of gravel pits and suburbia , as we reached Chertsey bridge , we could see our campsite on the other side of the river , and Chertsey lock and Weir were pretty , the noise drowned out the noise of the M3 motorway which was need by .

Once at the campsite , we had a beer ( rehydration) and food , very nice campsite with clean facilities. All ready for tomorrow

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Marlow to Windsor : Lisa on her own adventure 20th February

Plan to walk to WIndsor from Marlow , about 15 miles , so wasn’t sure that I would make that distance as the path has been really muddy which slows down the walking. Transport would be to drive to Marlow and park where Aj had parked last week near the Thames Path , parking was free so it made sense . Transport back from Windsor would be using the trains which is why I am on my own as I am not sure Dot would cope with three train journeys at rush hour.

I arrived at Marlow about 1015hrs , parked the car. I followed the dog walkers to find the path as it is being renovated and there was fencing every where. Once under the busy A404 I find the Thames tranquil and in the heart of the countryside again. Beautiful houses on the opposite bank with gardens backing on to the Thames . After about a mile and a half , I enter Bourne End a small track goes past some shed like buildings with their own moorings , behind them runs a train track , one of the buildings looked like an old train carriage. At the end of the track was the Bourne End Sailing club , its entrance was via a railway crossing . I walked on past the river side houses of Bourne End and again along a short track to a footbridge along side a railway bridge. On the other side of the river I walk through a NT Cock Marsh to a place called Cookham , through the church yard , in my guide book it tells me that there was a famous painter called Stanley Spencer – never heard of him before but he must be quite famous as he had a promenant grave in the church yard and a museum in the town. The bonus for me in Cookham was some local conveniences which was very clean and much needed comfort break . From the town , I follow the acorn to a track which also had some large houses down it , for about half a mile i follow the track before reaching the river , the path now quite narrow and nicely tree lined. The river flows towards Maidenhead and again spectacular houses line the river. I reach Boulters lock which is pretty with an island in the river and a nice pub on it , on closer inspection it was probably not the sort of pub that welcomes muddy boots. I am now in Maidenhead , pretty town on the river side , with a water fountain and a pretty bridge . As I cross over the bridge, I can see the railway bridge , built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel , it spans the river . It has record breaking low arches and is beautiful . The scenery becomes quite remote, muddy and a little bit boring, until I reach Bray lock . The noise from the water through the weir was loud and I hadnt noticed the bridge over the river , a few metres on which was the M4 . the underside of the bridge  was nice to photograph . As I continue there are more people on the path , young lads cycling or running , I realise I am near the Eton Colleges Rowing lake . Then on the right I see Windsor race course , the footpath starts to be less muddy and more of a gritted path. I am leg weary the middle stretch of the walk had been hard , but now with views of Windsor castle in the distance I am excited about the distance I have covered.

Once in Windsor , I cross the bridge and go through the town towards the train station and make my journey back to Marlow via Slough , over the amazing rail bridge to Maidenhead and then eventually back to Marlow through Bourne End .

Time to plan the next section , London I am getting close!

Henley to Marlow : Lisa , Jake, Matt , Dot and Buster adventure : 16th February 2018

Planned the walk earlier in the week , Matt was home from uni and had just celebrated his birthday , Jake was on holiday and we had a dog guest of Buster. We left Witney about 0930hrs and travelled to Henley parking at the Rowing Museum car park – £8 for the day , we walked past the Angel pub where I finished with Gayle and Deian in January. Aj was to meet us at Marlow at the end of the walk .

Crossing the bridge we found the path on the south side of the river, Jake noted the two sculptures on the bridge , Isis Mother Thames on one side and Father Thames on the other Henley was very busy being half term there was a lot of families in the town . As we walked along the river and past the regetta site the path was tarmaced and easy walking , however poor Dot likes the soft ground due to having corns on her pads , but with Buster full of life and wagging his tail he spurred Dot on. The buildings along the river at Henley are beautiful  and stylish with ornate boat houses on the north side of the river. Ahead of us we could see a white building on an island in the river – Temple Island , we then found ourselves aproaching Hambleden lock which was stunning and made the boys go wow. From there the dogs went back on the lead and we followed the path away from the river and up a small road towards a small village called Aston , and there we found ourselves approaching a pub called the Flowerpot , above we could see and hear red kites and a buzzard circled . We stopped at the pub , Matt waiting outside and Jake and I bought a couple of glasses of real ale and a can of coke for Matt. The pub was a time travel back 50 years , all sorts of mammals stuffed were on shelves and hanging off the walls. There was a parrot in a cage in the corner, fish in glass cases . The walls were yellow from a life time of nicotine staining. We liked it. After a 20 minute break we continued , walking past Culham court and through a deer park, we talked about the benefits of having a real ale half way on a walk , rehydration , mood elevator and supporting local community and pubs , no deer seen and then through a field along side the river full of sheep. We stopped by Hurley caravan park and sat on some benches to eat our sandwiches the weather was beautiful , Jake had bought some coffee and a hip flask of whisky. This was getting boozy but I had to drive back home from Henley so did not participate with this booze break. At Hurley lock we crossed the river over a small footbridge walked along the river on the island where there is a small campsite. Back over the river again off the island and back on the south side of the river. At Temple lock we crossed again , very nice long foot bridge . Aj had arrived at Marlow and was parked waiting for us . The path along this lock was very muddy and the poor dogs were covered in mud as were our boots . As we went past Bisham Abbey and church , lovely buildings photographed with some lovely reflections. From here we walked in to Marlow , the river side full of people enjoying the stunning sunny weather . We had to walk through a grave yard, some alleyways and roads well signposted until we returned to the Thames and found Aj in the support vehicle to drive us back to Henley to pick up my car.

Tilehurst to Henley : Lisa , Gayle and Deian adventure 27th January 2018

Gayle and Deian arrived at ours on Friday night , I had already suggested we walk along the Thames path to Gayle on the phone . Not sure she was prepared for the length and the muddiness of the Thames path. I explained the route to them both and as none of us had been to Henley before we were looking forward to the walk. Next morning we made sandwiches and packed lunch , Aj was going to drop us off at Tilehurst and meet us later at Henley. No Dot with us this time as she has sore pads in her feet after doing a road walk earlier in the week.

We arrived at Tilehurst at about 1030hrs , the path led us over the railway , then down on to the Thames path , we were soon able to view outstanding properties along the Thames. We came across the Reading promenade and a rowing club with boat house.At Reading we walked beside some river side residential buildings and past some bridges , road bridges and footbridges. At Caversham there was an island in the river with a bowls club . We then walked alongside sports fields and over a river inlet along side the railway again the landscape urban with grafitti and my first shopping trolley in the river ,the footpath well made and gravelled easy walking so far.

Deian was becoming hungry , well he is teenager , we approached Sonning with a lovely bridge and also a pub, The Great House . The weather was becoming wet so we took the opportunity to have a sit down , a beer , hot chocolate for Deian , we were given our own Igloo to sit in and Deian was able to have some of his packed lunch .

As we left the pub we went across the bridge and followed the Thames path signs. We went across a foot bridge as there seemed to be water everywhere , to our left and to our right . We saw a little sign saying Henley 2 hours that way , so off we went . The path was very muddy , weather continued to be drizzly . Gayle and I ate our packed lunch as we walked , the river was full .

We walked past Shiplake college and its lovely boat house. Shortly we left the Thames and walked away from it and through Shiplake a lovely village with pretty cottages . We then followed the path over a railway crossing and down a side path between buildings , bringing us out on a private road, we followed it past some very large houses the last one having its own narrow gadge railway , with a small station in the garden.

We rejoined the Thames , oh my the path was wet we were almost paddling , Aj was following us on the Viewranger app and text me to say he was in the pub by the bridge at Henley . We knew we were near but the going was heavy and we were getting leg weary. Through a gap in the trees however we came to Marsh Lock , it took our breath away the bridges over the river was made of wood , I can’t express how stunningly beautiful the Thames was at that moment with the rushing river going through the lock .

Once over the bridges we found ourselves nearer to the centre of Henley walking along the riverside path now a proper tarmac path , we walked past the Rowing museum and could see the Angel pub by the bridge , the street lights now lit as we approached 1600hrs it was being to get dark. Once inside , Aj had already bought us a pint and it was well needed. Have to say it was a good day and I enjoyed the variety of the scenery . I am going to wait a couple of weeks before I go back to the Thames path , the river was very full and areas were flooded , also I am going to need to plan getting to Henley , for the next leg of the Thames path

Goring to Tilehurst – Lisa and Dot adventure 23rd January 2018

Needing to plan my trips now as I am nearing Reading . I found a great parking site on the internet where I could park my car on someone’s drive  for £3.70 . I booked it on line and my plan was to park at Tilehurst , get the train to Goring and then walk back. I researched that dogs are allowed on trains , so Dot could come too .

We arrived at Tilehurst at about 1030hrs and I parked at the house that rents  its drive way it was over the road from the train station. We caught the train to Goring £3.90. Dot was well behaved but slightly nervous of the trains . We arrived at Goring and had a half mile walk to the Thames . We walked passed Goring Mill a beautiful old building with the water raging underneath it . I followed the path along the side of the Thames , there were a couple walking but the path was very muddy , I don’t think they were going very far. The going was thick mud and by the side of the river , the countryside was beautiful . Around me I could see the chiltern hills , I left the river and walked along a bridle path and then started my ascent up the Goring gap . I saw a pill box up there on the hill , guarding the river. The descent down was steep , the path was of chalk , it was tacky but not quite as slippy as the mud down by the river . I made it down safely and followed the path as it joined a private road with some very big houses along it. I walked further down on to a main road which lead me to a toll bridge . Over the toll bridge was Pangbourne, we rested there for half an hour and I shared my sandwiches with Dot . We continued along the river now very full and in parts flooded , at one point I climbed over a foot bridge using the rails , poor Dot had to swim across the mini flood. I walked along the path there were some beautiful houses on the other side of the Thames , one being Hardwick house the place where Kenneth Grahame thought up his stories of Wind in the Willows . All so beautiful , the weather was lovely it had been a great day , I reached Mapeldurham lock and headed towards Purley on Thames , where you leave the Thames and walk through a housing estate, Then right by a pub the path leaves the road back to the Thames . But for me a Dot we went back to the car , with plans brewing in my head to return later in the week with Gayle and Deian to walk to Henley

Wallingford to Goring : Lisa on her own adventure 18th January 2018

I was dropped off at Wallingford with plans to make my own way home using public transport. I didn’t have Dot with me as I was unsure about taking her on the train at the end of the walk.

Arrived about 1030hrs , I followed the Thames path signs from the town centre . Past the church and through an archway , then I was right on the pathway. The path was not too muddy to start with , saw a boat house and I followed the river , seeing lots of birds , herons and comorants , the Thames continues to have pill boxes on either side of the path at irregular intervals . I went under road bridge and then under a beautiful old viaduct built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel , I love these sorts of bridges and become overwhelmed by their structure – built with out computers . From the bridge the path leaves the Thames and follows a sports field to Moulsford , posh posh , lots of private schools , stunning houses – busy road . I follow the road and turn left on to Ferry lane , meet up with the Thames at the end of the road and also the Beetle and Wedge , time for a pint in my muddy boots – I think not by the cars in the carpark . Oh well I carry on and see a very bizarre house painted in bright colours . The houses continue to be impressive along the river,large with terraces on the Thames , however the train track runs behind these beautiful houses, I suppose this is the commuter belt . I come across Cleve lock – vast and powerful weir and lock . Then I see some houses ahead and I know I am nearly Streatley . I cross over the bridge into Goring and that is it for today. I walk up the hill through Goring and catch the train back to Oxford , then the bus home .

Clifton Hampden to Wallingford with Anne , Nell and Dot : 9th January 2018

Anne and myself continued our walk to Wallingford along the Thames path. Weather continued to be wet and the route was muddy , the scenery rural and views of Dorcester and Wittenham clumps , red kites flying over head. The going was heavy on our legs and a bit of a change for Anne who is used to road walking. We enjoyed the scenery and reached Shillingford bridge, where we had to cross on to the road and demud our boots for half a mile . The Shillingford bridge hotel and surrounding area was beautiful , with an art deco outdoor lido , some caravan sites followed and another lock at Benson , it was pretty big and furiously fast river going through the weir. We passed a beautiful boat house on our way to Wallingford. We could see Wallingford church spire in the distance with the castle meadows on our right we reached Wallingford and picked up my car as we had parked it earlier and driven to Clifton Hampden in Annes car.

My distances from home are now further so my trips are going to have to be more planned . This was a good stretch to walk and not as muddy as it was a couple of weeks ago

Abingdon to Clifton Hampden with Anne , Nell and Dot 29.12.17

Happy days I reached 1000miles walking in 2017 . Post Christmas debrief with Gin Queen Anne . Aj dropped us off at Abingdon and Neil was prepared to pick us up at Wallingford, however we didn’t get that far.

The path was gravelled for a while going through Abingdon the houses on the banks of the Thames were historic and old . As we came to the marina entrance we saw a Heron sat on a sign.

After this we walked through some farm land scenery was nice until through the tree we could see Didcot power station . We went through several locks, we could see Culham village from the river bank , it looked very pretty

The going was getting muddier and wetter as we approached the beautiful village of Clfton Hampden , the bridge spanning the bridge the water level was now over the path , time to call is a day . With the old thatched stunningly quaint pub the Barley Mow calling us for a post Christmas pint we absolutley had no choice but to shelter from the now drizzling rain. Once inside , dogs welcome , we decided to have lunch , it was gorgeous .

Wallingford will have to wait .

Radcot to Newbridge 21.12.17 with Matt and Dot

Matt had returned from University for Christmas , we had snow the week before , which was when I had planned the walk. It was nice to have a walking companion though he was happy to join me and no bribes were needed. Earlier in the year Matt had walked the Eynsham to Newbridge part of the Thames path so this walk made some sense. However we started late in the morning and had forgotten 21st December was the shortest day of the year , oops.

We started at the Swan pub at Radcot and followed the path , there is a small marina at Radcot and some house boats , Radcot bridge being the oldest bridge on the Thames.

We continued to Radcot lock and then followed the river through farm land for an hour, I explained the pill boxes along the Thames and when we came across one Matt was very interested in it .  He managed to get in an open one during the walk and have an explore

We went over the road at Tadpole Bridge and past the Trout pub continuing along the most rural part of the Thames path , the only people we saw were a few fishermen . Dot seemed to be enjoying the walk too. The weather was mild and it was hard to believe it had been covered in snow the same time the week before .

We reached Shifford lock and realised that the light was going to fade quite quickly , we upped our pace to ensure that we would reach Newbridge before it got too dark. We saw the car lights in the distance and realised we were not far from Newbridge and the Rose Revived pub . It was just 3pm . We got a pint each and some doggy snacks for Dot . Phone call to Granny Jan who came to pick us up . This was the last part of my puzzle that linked all my walks up – It meant I had completed the Source to Abingdon 63.7 miles so far this year