Planning your Thames Path walk

Last updated 23 July 2019

Statue of Father Thames at St John’s Lock, Lechlade

Father Thames, standing guard over St John's Lock, Lechlade

The River Thames isn’t the longest river in the UK – that honour goes to the Severn instead – however the Thames is certainly the best known, and arguably the mightiest of the UK’s rivers. Over the years it’s been a key trading route, both for the import and export of goods to the country, or for transporting items internally as well. Without the Thames, London simply wouldn’t be the city it is today.

Given the river’s importance, it’s only natural that someone would want to make a walking trail that follows it. That’s the Thames Path National Trail, and it’s a National Trail like no others.

It doesn’t follow the whole of the river’s journey – it stops some miles off the coast at the Thames Barrier – but the trail follows a good chunk of it. And as it goes along, you see the river change. At one end it’s a narrow rural waterway, and at the other, a massive expanse of industry and commerce.

Planning your own walk? If you find this guide helpful in planning your walk, please consider giving us £4 for a pint of beer to say thank you!

Inside This Guide

  1. What is the walk like?
  2. The route
  3. Planning an itinerary
  4. Finding and booking accommodation
  5. Getting to/from the Thames Path
  6. Guide Books and Maps
  7. And finally, and any questions

What is the walk like?

Geese and a barge, on the River Thames near Mapledurham

Walking on the Thames Path will take you on a journey. Whichever end of the trail you start from, you’ll walk and watch the river change.

The Thames goes through many changes. There’s the quiet, rural Thames near the source; barely bothered by visitors. Then there’s the Thames at leisure, passing through riverside towns and villages, where the water is visited by powerboats and barges. As you get closer to London, the towns get bigger, and the earthen paths begin to give way to tarmac and paving flags. There’s royal Thames with castles and palaces, historic Thames as you visit the site where the Magna Carta was signed. And then there’s suburban Thames, before arriving near Westminster for full on tourist Thames. Finally you leave the centre of London and head to industrial Thames where business and commerce rules.

This makes the Thames Path one of the most distinctive and varied walking trails in the country.

By the nature of the fact that it follows a river, the Thames Path is a pretty flat walk with no real hills to speak of. At many points, it is paved, making walking easy, and for most of the trail there are lots of facilities available.

Thanks to good paths, the vast majority of the Thames Path can be walked all year round. There may be times where there may when flooding may cause problems, however should this occur, generally there are plenty of options for bypassing any problematic areas that arise.

However this is not true of the section between the source and Oxford. This section is especially prone to flooding in winter months, and there are often few alternative routes. If it is under flood, you can end up having to do substantial detours, as the river spills over into many fields. Even paths some distance from the river, that you may think will be ideal alternatives, can be under water and un-usuable. As such, we recommend that the section between the source and Oxford is best attempted between May and October.

The route

From the source to the Thames Barrier, you can see the route of the Thames Path in the map above. Note that this is a guide to the route only, and whilst pretty accurate, is not guaranteed to be 100% correct.

The main Thames Path is shown in red, with the Thames Path Extension (from the Thames Barrier to Crayford Ness) shown in green.

Planning an itinerary

Sign above a tunnel denoting the eastern end of the Thames Path

180 miles from here to the source of the Thames

For centuries the Thames was a hugely important trading route, allowing goods to be shipped to and from the capital, and exported across the world.

The result of this is that numerous towns and villages grew up along side the river, a fact that is a huge boon to the Thames Path walker. It means that, for the majority of its length at least, the Thames Path has plenty of facilities along its route. And that means plenty of options for splitting up your walk.

Because there are so many options, we’ve not produced a series of specific itineraries, but instead split the trail up into a number of “sections”. Some of these sections are longer than others, and in most cases you will probably want to combine multiple “sections” into a single days walk.

Once you hit the Greater London boundary, the ability to chunk up the Thames Path in different ways increases enormously, thanks to an increase in river crossings and the presence of a highly frequent efficient public transport network (any Londoners who are tempted to laugh at this comment would be well advised to spend a week outside the capital relying on public transport, especially late at night.) As such, this section has been split into two sections: one for the Thames Path ‘in the country’ and another for the Thames Path ‘in Greater London.’ Like the official guide book, our definition of ‘country’ is from the source to Hampton Court. And for ‘Greater London’ it’s Hampton Court to the Thames Barrier.

The ‘country’ section

Each of the locations listed below has accommodation, shops and at least one pub, unless otherwise noted. Generally they are major towns or large villages. Any places with limited accommodation are noted. Where there is a railway station available on or near the route, this is marked with a ๐Ÿš‚.

Stage From To Distance Notes
Miles Km
1 Source of the Thames Kemble ๐Ÿš‚ 1ยฝ 2ยฝ
2 Kemble ๐Ÿš‚ Ashford Keynes 3ยผ 5ยผ
3 Ashford Keynes Cricklade 7 11ยผ
4 Cricklade Lechlade 11 17ยพ
5 Lechlade Kelmscott 2ยพ 4ยฝ [1]
6 Kelmscott Newbridge 14 22ยฝ [2]
7 Newbridge Oxford ๐Ÿš‚ 14 22ยฝ
8 Oxford ๐Ÿš‚ Radley ๐Ÿš‚ 6 9ยพ
9 Radley ๐Ÿš‚ Abingdon 3ยพ 6
10 Abingdon Culham ๐Ÿš‚ 2ยผ 6 [3]
11 Culham ๐Ÿš‚ Wallingford 11ยผ 18
12 Wallingford Cholsey ๐Ÿš‚ 3ยผ 5ยผ
13 Cholsey ๐Ÿš‚ Goring and Streatley ๐Ÿš‚ 4 6ยฝ
14 Goring and Streatley ๐Ÿš‚ Pangbourne ๐Ÿš‚ 4ยผ 7
15 Pangbourne ๐Ÿš‚ Tilehurst ๐Ÿš‚ 3ยผ 5ยผkm
16 Tilehurst ๐Ÿš‚ Reading ๐Ÿš‚ 3ยฝ 5ยฝ
17 Reading ๐Ÿš‚ Henley-on-Thames ๐Ÿš‚ 8ยพ 14
18 Henley-on-Thames ๐Ÿš‚ Marlow ๐Ÿš‚ 8ยฝ 13ยพ
19 Marlow ๐Ÿš‚ Bourne End ๐Ÿš‚ 3ยผ 5ยผ
20 Bourne End ๐Ÿš‚ Cookham ๐Ÿš‚ 1ยผ 2
21 Cookham ๐Ÿš‚ Maidenhead ๐Ÿš‚ 3ยผ 5ยผ
22 Maidenhead ๐Ÿš‚ Windsor ๐Ÿš‚ 6ยฝ 10ยฝ
23 Windsor ๐Ÿš‚ Staines ๐Ÿš‚ 8ยผ 13ยผ
24 Staines ๐Ÿš‚ Shepperton ๐Ÿš‚ 5ยฝ 9
25 Shepperton ๐Ÿš‚ Hampton Court ๐Ÿš‚ 6ยผ 10

Notes

  1. Limited accommodation in Kelmscott at the village pub only. Alternative accommodation is at Lechlade. No shop.
  2. Limited accommodation at Newbridge at the Rose Revived pub. Alternative accommodation can be found a few miles off route at Brighthamton, or Northmoor. Alternatively, a bus or taxi ride will take you to the towns of Abindgon or Witney.
  3. Culham station is a mile away from the village. Culham has no shop.

The ‘Greater London’ section

Once you hit Greater London, the ways of breaking up the Thames Path increase enormously. There are also plenty of tourist-related diversions that you may want to enjoy whilst breaking your walk. Because of this, we have provided distances between locations where there is a nearby railway or London Underground stations, although the whole London section is rarely far from a bus service as well. For added complexity, for most of the London section there are two alternatives – you can walk on the North Bank or the South Bank. In our experience, you’ll have a better time on the South Bank. It stays closer to the river, and has better views. However where the section can be walked on the North Bank, we have included that distance too.

Locations with a rail or Underground station are marked with a ๐Ÿš‚ symbol.

Stage From To Distance (North Bank) Distance (South Bank) Notes
Miles Km Miles Km
1 Hampton Court ๐Ÿš‚ Kingston-upon-Thames ๐Ÿš‚ 3 5
2 Kingston-upon-Thames ๐Ÿš‚ Teddington ๐Ÿš‚ 2 3ยผ
3 Teddington ๐Ÿš‚ Richmond ๐Ÿš‚ 3ยฝ 5ยฝ 2ยพ 4ยฝ
4 Richmond ๐Ÿš‚ Kew Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ 4 6ยฝ 3 5
5 Kew Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ Hammersmith/Barnes ๐Ÿš‚ 4 6ยฝ 4 6ยฝ [1]
6 Hammersmith/Barnes ๐Ÿš‚ Putney Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ 2ยพ 4ยฝ 1ยพ 2ยพ [1]
7 Putney Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ Vauxhall Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ 6 9ยพ 6 9ยพ
8 Vauxhall Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ Westminster Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ 1 1ยฝ 1 1ยฝ
9 Westminster Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ Waterloo Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ ยพ 1ยฝ ยฝ 1
10 Waterloo Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ Blackfriars Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ ยฝ 1 ยฝ 1
11 Blackfriars Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ London Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ 1ยฝ 2ยฝ 2 3ยผ
12 London Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ Tower Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ ยฝ 1 ยฝ 1
13 Tower Bridge ๐Ÿš‚ Wapping/Rotherhithe ๐Ÿš‚ 1 1ยฝ 2ยผ 3ยฝ [2]
14 Wapping/Rotherhithe ๐Ÿš‚ Greenwich Foot Tunnel ๐Ÿš‚ 3ยพ 6 3ยฝ 5ยฝ [2]
15 Greenwich Foot Tunnel ๐Ÿš‚ Thames Barrier ๐Ÿš‚ 4 6 [3]

Notes

  1. Distance to Hammersmith for north bank, and Barnes for South Bank
  2. Distance to Wapping for north bank, and Rotherhithe for South Bank
  3. Nearest railway station is Woolwich Dockyard. Alternatively, follow the Thames Path Extension to Woolwich

The Thames Path Extension

Although the eastern end of the Thames Path National Trail is at the Thames Barrier, you don’t need to end there as the Thames Path Extension carries on another ten miles to Crayford Ness. This is fully waymarked and generally referred to as the Thames Path on signposts, but uses a picture of a Thames Sailing Barge as a logo instead of the National Trail acorn. It is shown on the map above in green.

Whether it is worth it depends though if you’d rather end your walk at the sleek metallic majesty of the Thames Barrier, or at a quiet patch of land near a scrap metal yard.

Still interested? These are the distances:

Stage From To Distance
Miles Km
1 Thames Barrier ๐Ÿš‚ Woolwich (Foot Tunnel) ๐Ÿš‚ 1ยผ 2
2 Woolwich (Royal Arsenal) ๐Ÿš‚ Erith ๐Ÿš‚ 7 11ยผ
3 Erith ๐Ÿš‚ Crayford Ness 2 3ยผ

Note that there is no public transport Crayford Ness. There are two options: walk back to Erith, or carry on follow initially following the London LOOP before following the LOOP link signs to Slade Green railway station.

Breaking the walk up for several trips

The Thames Path passes many railway stations along its route, meaning its extremely easy to split the route up into several trips. Indeed, if you live in London, or near the Thames, it’s an absolute doddle to walk most of the Thames Path in day hikes. The options are endless.

The one section that is an exception to this is the section from the source to Oxford. Unless you live locally, this is likely to require a four day trip to complete this section as there are no railway stations on the route, and whilst there are some buses – like the Stagecoach 66 bus that runs from Swindon to Oxford that mostly follows the A420 – you’ll need to be prepared to make detours of a couple of miles from the trail.

Extending your walk

As well as the Thames Path Extension, the Thames Path intersects with a large number of walking trails on its journey. There are too many to list here, but notable trails include the Ridgeway and the London LOOP. At the western end, near the source, the Wysis Way runs for 55 miles/88km and connects with the Offa’s Dyke National Trail at Monmouth, and the Cotswold Way National Trail.

Rest days

The country section doesn’t have that many sections well worth spending a whole day in, although there are several towns like Abingdon and Henley where an hour or two spent exploring, would be a hugely re-warding experience.

The most obvious place to stop is the university city of Oxford, where you can easily spend a day wandering down its narrow streets and checking out its sights.

Once you hit Greater London, the Thames Path takes you past numerous tourist attractions. Indeed it’s well worth, if you have the time, to walk shorter days in Greater London and take in some of the fantastic sights on the route. Obvious contenders include Hampton Court Palace, Tate Britain, the Houses of Parliament, the South Bank (including the London Eye, Borough Market, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and maritime Greenwich. And that’s just the options that don’t involve leaping on a bus or a tube train. Even if you live in London, there’s plenty to see and explore.

Finding and booking accommodation

The Magna Carta Memorial, Runnymede

The Magna Carta Memorial. Celebrating a legendary document, just a short way from the Thames Path.

As it travels through many larger towns and villages, you’ll have no problems with finding accommodation. The Thames Path National Trail website includes a detailed accommodation guide, although inevitably its not comprehensive, especially in London (far from it.) That means alternative accommodation can be found using your favourite search engine.

If staying in London, you may find it easier to stay in the same place for a couple of nights, and use the capital’s excellent public transport to get to and from your accommodation.

Accommodation Booking Services and Baggage Transfer

A number of companies will arrange your walk for you. Generally this includes baggage transfer as well. You can find a list of companies who will book accommodation on the official Thames Path website.

The official website also has a list of companies who provide baggage transfer if you just want that service.

Hostels and bunkbarns

The Thames Path is served by a number of hostels, although most are in London. Those near to the trail are:

The YHA also has several other London hostels, and a full listing can be found in the London section of their website. There are also independent hostels, although often targeted at a younger clientรจle.

Camping

Most of the camping opportunities on the Thames Path are in the western end, in the more rural sections. This includes the option to stay the night on some lock islands. The Thames Path accommodation guide includes known places to camp.

Due to the nature of the trail, wild camping is not generally advised or possible. Under English law you are not legally allowed to wild camp without permission of the landowner.

Getting to/from the Thames Path

First Great Western train at Tilehurst station

A train sits at Tilehurst station, just metres away from the Thames Path.

As has been noted above, the Thames Path is extremely well served by the National Rail network in the country section, with most stations having regular services to London – either direct or by changing once. Train times and connections can be found on the National Rail website.

In the Greater London section of the trail, the Thames Path is extremely well served by public transport in the form of National Rail, London Underground or London’s extensive bus network. To plan journeys in London, visit the Transport for London website.

Guide Books and Maps

Me, standing next to a giant map of the Thames, in a subway

Sometimes you just need to stand next to a giant map on a wall

First up, guide books, and you simply can’t go wrong with the two official guide books, published by Aurum Press.

The Thames Path in the Country by David Sharp and Tony Gowers, covers the trail between the source and Hampton Court. It includes plenty of information about the trail, as well as Ordnance Survey Explorer scale (1:25,000) maps for the whole route, and show plenty of the area around the route as well. The book also includes information about public transport options. The last update was 2016.

The Thames Path in London by Phobe Clapham, is the book for the London section between Hampton Court and the Thames Barrier, with detailed coverage for both the North Bank and South Bank options. It also includes the Thames Path Extension, enabling you to extend your walk to Crayford Ness if you wish. It was last updated in 2018.

As well as masses of detail, and local information, the book has one glorious feature: it’s maps. It uses the Ordnance Survey’s 1:10,000 scale. This is an easy to use street map, with road names and everything. This is incredibly useful when you’re trying to navigate your way through the Greater London area. As far as we know, this is the only Thames Path guidebook to use these maps, and the benefits of navigating the Thames Path this way should not be underestimated!

For planning a multi-day walk, you may well find the Trailblazer Thames Path guide book to be of great benefit. These incredibly detailed books list a multitude of accommodation providers, pubs, and other services on the trail. They also include maps and walk instructions, although the maps are hand drawn, and we prefer the detail provided by a proper map.

When it comes to maps, an excellent choice is the A-Z Thames Path Adventure Atlas. This range of maps are an excellent alternative to carrying individual Ordnance Survey maps, and gives you the whole of the trail – and a good area around it – in a single, slim volume. The maps are at the Ordnance Survey Explorer scale of 1:25,000. This is not ideal in London, and the Thames Path in London’s maps are better, but for the rest of the route, this is a great book to have.

As ever, there is a Harveys Thames Path map, at Harvey’s scale of 1:40,000. The scale is too small to be truly useful in London, however may be useful in other areas. However generally for the Thames Path, we recommend the higher scale of the Explorer maps as you will benefit from the extra detail.

Finally, if you fancy filling your rucksacks with paper maps containing the fine work of the Ordnance Survey, then these are the ones you need:

We thoroughly recommend the Explorer scale, and the Landrangers really won’t help you once you hit London.

And finally, and any questions

Topiary sculpture of a child riding on a bird

The Thames Path, for all your topiary needs.

If you’ve got this far, then hopefully you’re preparing to put your walking boots on very soon. I hope you have an excellent walk.

And if you’ve any questions about the Thames Path, feel free to ask them below and we’ll do the best to answer those we can.

Your Comments

Dave Lee

11 September 2017 at 4:48 pm

I have a comment on your section regarding breaking the Thames Path up into several trips, where you note that the lack of public transport on the section to Oxford makes it difficult.
In fact, it is doable with a bit of planning. There is a good bus service from Cricklade to Swindon (Stagecoach bus 51/51A). And the real helper is the Stagecoach 66 from Swindon to Oxford, which runs mostly along the A420 parallel to the Thames. That means there’s a bus stop a few miles off the main path all the way from Faringdon to Farmoor, at which point you’re almost in Oxford anyway!
Hope that helps…
Dave

Andrew

22 September 2017 at 11:35 am

I agree with the usefulness of the 66 bus. It even has a regular service on Sundays! I used it to/from an obscure road junction called Buckland Turn, about 2.5 miles of road-walking south of Tadpole Bridge. This, together with staying at a place you didn’t mention, The Ferryman Inn at Bablock Hythe (about 10 miles from Oxford), let me do the walk from the source to Oxford in five legs over three weekends:

Day 1 (standalone): Source to Cricklade
Days 2/3 (full weekend): Cricklade to Tadpole Bridge/Buckland Turn, staying overnight in Lechlade
Days 4/5 (full weekend): Buckland Turn/Tadpole Bridge to Oxford, staying overnight in Bablock Hythe

Leslie Snyder

11 March 2018 at 3:55 am

Generally, how is the weather on the Thames path in late September and into the middle of October? I know you can’t give me a definite weather report but something general would be really helpful. For example, we live in Columbus, Ohio, and I can tell a visitor that we have beautiful fall days that are often warm in the daytime and cool but not freezing in the evening. when it rains, it rarely last for more than a few hours in our autumn. Can anyone give me an idea of the weather in the early fall?

Derick Rethans

12 March 2018 at 11:45 am

Hi,

I’m planning to do the whole of the Thames Path this year, and was wondering whether it would be too much of a stretch to do Source to Oxford in 3 days (with stops in Circklade and Newbridge). It’s going to be in June/July, and my main concern is the 44km between Circklade and Newbridge… Is it generally good walking with hiking boots?

cheers,
Derick

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

13 March 2018 at 9:10 am

Hello Leslie – generally Autumn in the south of England can be a great time to walk. However you may get a day where it just rains all the time. Although in Britain that’s true most of the year!

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

13 March 2018 at 9:14 am

Hi Derick – the Thames Path’s a pretty flat route, and usually easy going. I’m not sure I’d personally want to do 44km in one day, but of all the routes I know, the Thames Path would be the easiest to do that distance. The question I’d ask is, have you experience of walking such a long distance in one day? If not, then it’s a serious challenge.

Derick Rethans

13 March 2018 at 10:08 am

Thanks for your comment Andrew,

I walk about 10-20km a day, and have done a 35km walk โ€” all in London with lots of people “in the way”, so I’m pretty sure I can do 44km in the country side, starting early and relaxed.

BTW, is there a reason why your site disables PgUp/PgDn for scrolling, and the cursor in this comment field and for scrolling too?

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

13 March 2018 at 3:39 pm

Yep, if you’ve done 35km in London, 44km on the Thames Path should be fine!

As for the Page Up/Page Down – there was nothing I was doing deliberately. Turns out the code I use to embed the maps on the page was hijacking them. Rather than scrolling the page up and down, it was scrolling the map instead. There was a simple fix for that, and everything should now work as you’d expect. I presume the same thing was causing the comment problems as well.

James

24 March 2018 at 4:37 pm

Hi Andrew,
Do you know if anyone has attempted the entire length from the source to the sea? Iโ€™m planning to do this next year and finish at the end of Southend pier, taking about 12 days while staying along the route – maybe less. Iโ€™m currently struggling to find a good way to cross the river Darent so I can eventually reach Gravesend.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

24 March 2018 at 7:10 pm

Hello James – whilst I know there have been suggestions of extending the route to the sea, I don’t know of anyone who has done it myself. Maybe someone does?

Tessa Gooding

3 April 2018 at 1:41 pm

Hello, thanks for the advice on here. I’m looking to do a sponsored challenge for a local homeless charity in October and am thinking about walking 54 miles along the south of the river in one go from Windsor to the Thames Barrier (I’ve calculated it based on your information above). To make it a significant enough challenge I’ll probably start on a Saturday morning and finish on a Sunday morning, as I’m guessing it will take me an average of 3 miles per hour plus breaks as it’s pretty flat. Do you think planning to do it within 24 hours is feasible? I will probably bring my dog for the first half of it – he may not manage the whole thing. We will train by doing long Sunday walks over the few months beforehand.

Tessa Gooding

3 April 2018 at 1:51 pm

The other option is we do Teddington Lock to River Darent, which I think is 42 miles and if we do it in one go, people will hopefully also see that as a sufficient challenge. Plus the walk is to raise awareness of homelessness in London and I think this bit is the part within the Greater London boundaries.

Julian Lewis

24 April 2018 at 2:24 pm

I would like to walk from Windsor on the Thames path ending at the The Shard.Can you tell me how far it is and how easy it is as I have only just learnt to walk again.

Derick Rethans

24 April 2018 at 3:20 pm

Julian, it’s about 55km from Windsor to London Bridge – quite a long walk, but possible to do in two days.

Annabelle Cartwright

12 May 2018 at 3:51 pm

Iโ€™m looking for a good place to park the Cricklade. My searches havenโ€™t come up with much.

Emma

23 May 2018 at 2:04 pm

Hi,
We were considering doing the Thames Path from London to Reading. How long roughly do you reckon this would take to walk (not including any stops along the way)?

Stephen

13 June 2018 at 6:15 am

Hi, i am an extreme walker and am looking at walking from the barrier to the source in three days, 62 miles a day. That should give me between three and four hours sleep a night,providing the distances work out near to either a campsite or an Inn/b&b. Do you have any recommendations for anywhere at those distances.
Kindest regards
Stephen

Winny

19 July 2018 at 4:17 pm

Thanks for all your stories, tips and advice. The only shame is that you walked from East to West and we are walking from West to East …

By-the-way, just as well that we started at the source, because the other way around we would probably never finish our walk.

Large parts of the ‘path’ from the source to Wallingford or so are no path at all (with sometimes waist high nettles and thistles, even far into June …) and lots of times you also cannot see the river. Not much fun there. We hardly ever met other walkers and wondered if the Thames Path was being maintained at all.

But towns like Ashton Keynes, Clifton Hampden and Wallingford are little gems, even though you sometimes need to leave the path to find them.

Looking forward to walking another part of the Thames Path next year, but with more realistic expectations.

Sarah

29 July 2018 at 2:02 pm

I’m walking East to West with my son doing approx 10km as and when I have the time. Yesterday we did the stretch from Marlow to Henley. I’m loving the whole thing but I can see that it’ll need more planning as I get past Pangbourne with regard to public transport. Also because I’ll be further away from home (I live near Staines). Helpful comments about the bus routes thanks!

Mikey C

9 August 2018 at 11:41 pm

James
The only way to cross the River Darent is to follow the London Loop path which goes along the Rivers Darent and Cray to Crayford, go east along the A206 which crosses the Darent and take the similar path back up the other side, as sadly there is no public access to the Darent flood barrier which does cross the river!
https://www.walkingclub.org.uk/walk/dartford-to-greenhithe/map.html

Derick Rethans

13 August 2018 at 11:12 am

Goring-on-Thames has a train station (and is ~10 km from Pangbourne).
Wallingford has the X39/X40 bus from Reading (and is ~16km from Goring) See: https://www.thames-travel.co.uk/routes/x38x39x40
Dorchester can also mostly be reached by the X39/X40 bus, with a little detour walking
There is a train station at Culham, although not very close to the river.
Abingdon will have bus services to Didcot Parkway, where you can pick up the train into Reading again.

Beyond Oxford you’re going to struggle unless you’re willing to walk a little further. I did do the 90km from source to Oxford over three days.

Carter

15 August 2018 at 4:12 pm

I am organising a small group who live “on the continent”. I plan to split the walk into 3 separate weeks, spread over 1 or 2 years.

2 immediate questions:

1. are there companies which plan the walk, fix accommodation and move rucksacks from one location to another
2. best time to walk

Thanks for any help you can give.

Peter

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

16 August 2018 at 9:56 am

Hello Peter
Yes, there are companies who can plan your walk and move bags. You can find details on the Thames Path National Trail website.

As for time of year, most of it can be walked at any time. But the section between the source and Oxford is best done between May and October, due to the likelihood of the path flooding at other times.

Winny

16 August 2018 at 2:43 pm

Well, we walked the path in June of this year between the source and Henley. And we found that most of the time there was no actual path (but lots of stinging nettles instead, sometimes higher than my 5 ft 3) and the Thames was nowhere to be seen. We were not the only persons wondering if the path was being walked on at all at this end … Ofcourse, it can be walked. But whether it’s an overall nice experience, is quite another matter.

Nigel Croxford

17 August 2018 at 5:05 pm

In May 2018 I walked the Thames Path from the source to Putney Bridge in 6 consecutive days to raise funds for Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support, however my feet had suffered terribly and I wasn’t able to finish the final stretch to the Thames Barrier.
Next weekend, along with family and friends, I am going to finish my challenge and would like to know which is the best side of the river to walk and are there any diversions along the route
Thanks for your help.

Mikey C

20 August 2018 at 10:52 pm

James/Andrew

Just noticed this on the Diamond Geezer blog, where he mentions the Thames Estuary Path, which runs from Tilbury to Leigh on Sea (near Southend) which is probably as near as you’ll get to a Thames Path to Southend (albeit running inland sometimes)

http://www.thamesestuarypath.co.uk/
https://diamondgeezer.blogspot.com/2014/09/thames-estuary-path.html

Sarah Price

21 August 2018 at 10:11 am

Nigel, I walked that stretch on the south side last year. Last February there was a diversion on the Greenwich Peninsula due to building work. It wasn’t well signposted but might be finished now of course!

Off to walk the next stretch from Pangbourne to Goring today…

David Newman

9 September 2018 at 10:06 pm

Sarah the building works just east of Greenwich are not finished, I walked the path there about two weeks ago. You have to go inland through housing estates and along a busy road, not pleasant but it takes only around 30 minutes to get through it to the Greenwich Peninsular.

Arkam Uzair

12 September 2018 at 10:36 am

I just finished the whole Great London path. I really enjoyed it. It is so diverse. I split it into 1.5-2 hours walk every day and finished it in 4-5 days. On weekend I walked Longer.

The more you move away from Centre, the path becomes more rural type but with less diversion.

I mostly walked south Path but always planned in the morning on the map to check which side to walk(North or south). I walked on that side which had less diversions.

The area from Kew Bridge till Hampton Court is so beautiful and scenic. The central area has its own charm.

The walk between Lime house and Island gardens is the worst part of the walk as there are mostly private properties and restricted areas near river which you cant enter. You have to go on a side road and then re-join.

O2 construction work also caused a bit of inconvenience due to some construction work but apparently they are saying that something exciting is coming.

On one end I finish at Hampton Court and on other end I finished near River Darent.

What I did was that I walked from Thames Barrier till River Darent. From river Darent I walked half an hour and then took a side walk to River Cray and ultimately reached Main road somewhere close to Queen Elizabeth Bridge 2. From there I had two options, either to Walk to Crayford or Slade Green. Both were approximately same distance, so I chose Slade Green.

Beyond thames barrier, if you wish to split walks, you can do so easily as you pass near lots of rail stations like Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbeywood, Belverde, Erith.

After Erith you need to prepare yourself to do a boring main road walk if you plan to reach Slade Green or Crayford.

The walk in Bishop’s part on the route between Putney to Hammersmith is so beautiful and scenic. Its like a forest walk as Bishop’s route is covered by tree.

Geof Malone

1 October 2018 at 7:07 pm

My wife and I finally arrived at the source last week. Despite it being a few years since setting off from the Barrier, we still felt a great sense of achievement!

Andrew has all the information you need here but, for breaking the trip down to easy day stages, we followed thames-path.org.uk. It was written around 2004 but what little has changed is well signed. We didnโ€™t bother carrying any maps or guidebooks.

We live in London so it was easy to go as far as Oxford doing day trips, mostly from 9 โ€“ 12 miles. The only exception was a night in delightful Dorchester-on-Thames when the transport back would have been too much hassle.

We did Oxford to the source in five days, staying at Bablock Hythe, Tadpole Bridge, Lechlade and Cricklade (lovely walking and nice places to stay) and finished off with a celebratory night at the Thames Head Inn, about 20 minutes’ walk from the source.

Jon Clifton

16 October 2018 at 8:33 am

We started the Thames Path last August (2017) at Greenwich and are currently at Dorchester on Thames initially doing the walks on ‘days out’ from where we live in Norfolk. Now we are staying weekends in self catering. We are loving it so much and would recommend to anyone. We use taxis or trains to get us back to the car after the days walking. Lovely villages, great pubs, loved London, the Chilterns are scenic,….. cant wait to get back.

Winny

18 October 2018 at 1:26 pm

Dear Geof Malone, I was just wondering if you experienced any problems walking the path in October. We walked the path in June of this year between the source and Henley. Just after a period of heavy rains. And we found that most of the time there was no actual path (but lots of stinging nettles instead, sometimes higher than my 5 ft 3) and the path had not been maintained. Reading all the Hosannah stories about the path on this website, I’m just wondering if we were just there at the wrong time …

Geof Malone

23 October 2018 at 9:31 pm

Hi Winny,
Sorry for the belated reply. We were very lucky with the weather. Took rain gear but it was shorts and t-shirt all the way, the path was clear and don’t remember getting stung, but can certainly see the potential for it getting a bit rough in a few places in the wet weather.

Simon

28 November 2018 at 3:23 pm

Similar to what was mentioned in an earlier post (James, March 24 2018), I am also intending to walk the whole length from the source at Kemble to Southend Pier. I’m anticipating 12 – 15 days.

The Thames Path itself is well-documented although does anyone have a walking route from the Thames Barrier to Southend? I’m assuming there isn’t a convenient pathway that runs alongside the river – there are some dotted lines showing on Google Maps, which I take to be footpaths, although these are interrupted by docks, sewerage works and sundry industrial sites, so I think it might be a disaster-in-waiting to set off without a planned route beforehand.

Any help or comment gratefully received

James

29 November 2018 at 1:59 pm

Hi Simon,
I haven’t come across anything extensively documented online about my full route.
I’ve planned for quite a few miles “inland” and diverting around – particularly when the river meets the River Cray, near Crayford on the south bank (see Mikey C’s route above). Once at Gravesend, I’m getting the ferry over to Tilbury (the only transport I’ll be using) and then it’s several miles round to Stanford Le Hope, past Basildon to Pitsea and then down towards Canvey Island. and following the Estuary waterline all the way through to Southend.

I found there’s no magic route marked out – so I’ve hard to invest a lot of time to check different routes that make it up, and actually getting boots on the ground at the weekend with an OS map of the areas (don’t rely on Google).

Hope this helps

Leslie

29 November 2018 at 6:23 pm

Four of us will be walking on the Thames Path in mid April. We’d really appreciate your guidance about which segment to walk. We have only three days so we would like to find a segment that is quaint but with beautiful scenery. Any suggestions?

Simon Hall

30 November 2018 at 6:36 pm

Thanks James
I’ll work on this over the next few weeks and come to a conclusion. If I think the diversions east of the Thames Barrier would take me too far from the bank of the estuary then I’ll just walk from Kemble to the Barrier, doing 15 – 18 miles a day.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

3 December 2018 at 9:10 pm

Hi Leslie
It’s difficult to chose a perfect three day stretch, but perhaps the sections between Tilehurst/Reading and Oxford would meet your criteria. It’s quite varied, with lots of interesting scenery and some lovely villages and towns.

If you had an extra day – and were going later in the year – the Source and Oxford would be a great one. But in April there’s a risk that there may be flooded sections. Probably less of a risk in April, but generally I suggest waiting until May before trying that bit.

Leslie

3 December 2018 at 11:32 pm

Thank you so much!

Wendy

7 December 2018 at 10:50 pm

Hi Andrew,
We are from Australia and are planning to walk in the Cotswolds in May 2019 finishing in Oxford. We are thinking that it would be good to then tag on the Oxford to London section of the Thames Path. Question, would like to know if it is necessary to pre book nightly accommodation (pubs and B & B’s etc) or is it possible to find accom along the way? If accom is relatively easy to find it would give us more flexibility each day (weather, sightseeing etc), we have hiked extensively (several Camino walks in Spain, Portugal, France etc and have done the C2C in England twice).
Wendy

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

9 December 2018 at 8:29 pm

Hello Wendy – generally I recommend booking in advance if you can but you may be alright if you’re prepared to travel a little bit away from the trail in the evening.

Jonathan Clifton

10 December 2018 at 11:02 am

Hi Wendy
We usually book accommodation (self catering usually) somewhere very close to The Thames and have three/four walking days. We then get taxis back to the car or accommodation. This has worked perfectly so far. I’d recommend searching taxis beforehand so you have several to choose from as some in the remoter areas are not always available and on other jobs. Our next trip is the Oxford section and have a lovely old cottage booked at Sutton Courteney. Have fun.

Wendy

16 December 2018 at 3:35 am

Thank you Andrew and Jonathan.
Wendy

Leslie

29 December 2018 at 2:55 pm

We are a group of four seniors who have done a lot of walking. We walked 100 miles on the Camino in Spain in five days. We have three and a half days from April 11-14 to walk the most scenic and interesting section of the Thames Path. Any suggestions? we would really appreciate your opinions! Hope to hear lots of suggestions – thanks – Leslie from Columbus, Ohio

David Newman

29 December 2018 at 3:01 pm

Hi Leslie
It much depends upon the weather. April can be dry, warm, cold and wet ! The head of the Thames through to Tadpole Bridge is beautiful, quite wild, often off the river itself and quite isolated in parts, but awful if it is raining. That would take two days.
A day not to miss is across London, starting at Wandsworth through to Greenwich, or vice versa, a whole day. Another whole day is Richmond to Hampton Court and that is restful and has lots of stopping off points for a drink and two nice final destinations.

Leslie

29 December 2018 at 3:37 pm

Hi David,
Thank you so much. I will check out all three of these. I think we would may have to decide once we get to England because we wouldn’t want to do to Tadpole Bridge if the weather predicts rain.

David

29 December 2018 at 7:21 pm

The piece I am missing is the Oxford to Reading stretch. I read that is good too. Depends where you are going to stay in England.

Stephen Robert Mobsby

13 January 2019 at 12:26 pm

We have done the South Downs and the Pennine Way in day walks between carparks adjacent to the route. With two cars you can leapfrog efficiently and cover 10 to 15 miles a day.

The OS maps show very few public carparks along the source to Oxford section. Anyone know of landowners, farmers, Publicans with large carparks, prepared to allow a car to be parked all day (perhaps for a small fee)

Faye

6 February 2019 at 7:41 pm

Hello, I’m planning to walk from Kew to Culham in July this year. I’m hoping to do it over 4 days. I am having trouble working out the exact mileage though. I have a feeling it might be between 90-95 miles. Could anyone give me a more accurate idea? Thanks!

Geof Malone

8 February 2019 at 1:06 pm

Faye,

In a post in October I mentioned that thames-path.org.uk is good for planning distances and I have just checked it and you’re right on the Kew-Culham distance. I reckon about 93 miles.

Going back to Stephen’s post from last month, there are car parks at all riverside pubs. We stayed at the Ferryman Inn at Bablock Hythe and the Trout at Tadpole Bridge and I reckon you could get sorted with a few calls. Lechlade and Cricklade are small towns with plenty of parking and there is also the Thames Head Inn as well as layby parking near the source.

The source was dry when we were there, but with recent rains I am planning to venture up there again (from close by this time, not from the Barrier!) to see if it really is possible to see the river rising.

Jasmine

12 February 2019 at 3:07 am

Hi I’m planning to walk theThames from Source to London in August this year. My question is about public transport from central London to (as close as possible) the source. I’m on a budget so taxi is last on my list of options. I’m from new Zealand so not familiar with uk public transport.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

12 February 2019 at 8:57 am

Hello Jasmine. Definitely no need for a taxi. The easiest way is train. There are direct trains from London Paddington station in central London to Kemble. Kemble is a mile and a half from the source, and close to the Thames Path. The journey takes about 75 minutes. The Thames Path is very well served by public transport for most of its length.

clare

19 February 2019 at 10:27 am

Hi!
I live in East Sussex and I would like to do a part of the TPW…I just don’t know which bit to do. Potentially I would like to do about 25 – 35km. I would prefer to do a nice pretty section, rather than urban. I would need to get the train to the start, do the walk, then train back to Eastbourne. Any ideas? Ideally the train stations I get on and off would be near to the river and easy to navigate to and from.

Thanks!

David Newman

20 February 2019 at 10:05 pm

Clare, easy. Eastbourne to Clapham Junction to Kew Bridge walk west and south to Hampton Court, train back to C Junction. The path is all along the river but you are never isolated. And you can stop along the way at Richmond or Kingston. It takes you past Teddington Lock too from tidal to non tidal.

Julie Wallace

24 February 2019 at 7:33 am

Hi, I’d like to take my 9 year old lab on the path from Pangbourne to Reading. She is too heavy for me to consider lifting her over any barriers along the path. Are there any sections that might prevent her walking unhindered?
Thanks in advance.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

24 February 2019 at 8:27 pm

Hello Julie – I don’t recall any particular barriers on that section, but I have to say I wasn’t looking out for them!

Leonie

27 February 2019 at 7:11 pm

Hey there ๐Ÿ™‚
I’d love to do the Thames Path, but my only option are three weeks at the end of July/beginning of August. Is the route very busy at this time of the year? Since you’ve done so many walks, would you recommend an alternative long distance path for July/August? I’ve never been to Great Britain, so I’m open for all suggestions. Thank you in advance!

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

1 March 2019 at 9:40 am

Hello Leonie – the Thames Path is often busy all year round. But other than the section through central London – which is always crazy – it’s rarely that bad.

Stuart

19 March 2019 at 5:56 pm

Hey, looming to run the length from source to sea over 7 days next year. It breaks down nicely into a marathon a day. Has anyone on this forum any experience in this and can suggest the natural stops around 26 miles each day. Thanks for any suggestions

Sarah Price

25 March 2019 at 5:31 am

Hi Stuart, no I don’t have any experience of marathon running but I would say don’t do that in winter! The sections that we have walked in winter have been very muddy and very slow going.

wendy chapman

31 March 2019 at 8:51 pm

Leslie Snyder, In reference to weather in the autumn. I moved her from Wisconsin and know what you mean about the fall weather there. Here is should be similar with warmer days and cool but not frosty nights. There could be more grey days with on and off drizzle or rain but your chances of nice weather are good during this season.

Leslie

31 March 2019 at 10:59 pm

Thanks, Wendy. Believe it or not, we are coming now on April 11 for a four day walk. Thant’;s all we have time for right now. We vare hoping for good weather – should be beautiful because plants shoul;d be in bloom. Weare excited and hope for rain-free days!

Peter

16 April 2019 at 1:33 pm

I’m walking Putney Bridge to Henley. Are there any detailed map or instructions anywhere as the route looks quite tricky in parts regarding following the river/cross overs etc. Or is it clearly sign posted?
Thanks

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

16 April 2019 at 3:44 pm

Hi Peter – the route’s very well signposted, especially in London. The best instructions and maps are in the Thames Path in the City book mentioned above. It has street maps in it with road names given.

wendy chapman

16 April 2019 at 3:52 pm

HI Peter,

I just finished walking to Henley and have walked from the flood defences in stages. It is well marked and you should not have trouble. You can upload an app to your phone that has the OS map and that makes it a breeze. Also, there are a couple of great books to use as a guide if you desire.

Peter

16 April 2019 at 8:11 pm

Thanks Andrew and Wendy, thatโ€™s great.
Do you happen to know the name of the app you mentioned?

wendy chapman

18 April 2019 at 8:13 am

HI Peter, The app is called the Thames Path Map Lite. It is terrific and will help you when the path diverts a bit from the riverside. I have an iPhone so cannot tell you if there is an android version. I highly recommend it. Also, if you have a recent OS map of the version there is a way to upload it to your phone as well. Good luck.

Leigh Hatts

19 April 2019 at 9:04 pm

Just catching up at last with this interesting site.

But I think readers should be aware that you can walk the other way! If you know the Thames in London you will want to find the source and have the fun of finding the river becoming more and more narrow.

My book, Walking The Thames Path (Cicerone), was developed from the trail’s feasibility study.

The river is always changing so you may want to walk the other way, or walk back, afterwards. David Sharp was a generous friend and pioneer and we worked well together on Thames problems.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

20 April 2019 at 9:32 pm

As someone who did walk from London to the Source, I have to agree with Leigh Hatts. The Source is a much better ending!

Roger Stevenson

6 May 2019 at 10:42 pm

Apologies for asking, but is cycling allowed on the footpath ?
The answer has to be NO, but thought I would ask.

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

6 May 2019 at 10:45 pm

Hello Roger. There’s a few bits of the Thames Path where cycles are allowed, but for the most part, they are not.

Preston Sewell

20 May 2019 at 5:06 pm

Thanks for the information. I’ll be visiting London in July of this year and hope to start on the trail from that end. How far … time will tell. I found two apps for my Android phone:
https://www.harveymaps.co.uk/acatalog/Thames-Path-National-Trail-YHWRTHV.html
and
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jeffmaynard.riverthamesguidelite&hl=en_US
Naturally, being old school, I will also obtain a hard copy.
Cheers,
Preston

Richard Ogden

2 June 2019 at 9:38 pm

Some friends are visiting from Brasil in August and want to walk from their hotel in Sonning along the river to Shiplake. How far is that and how long should it take reasonably fit over-60โ€™s?

Preston Sewell (aka Trekking Turtle)

3 June 2019 at 1:29 am

Several entries on google relating to the short walk you mentioned. Try this link: https://babyroutes.co.uk/walking-routes/oxfordshire-chiltern-baby-walks/sonning-shiplake-thames-path-stroll/
Should answer most of the questions that your friends will have.

Tom Howard

18 June 2019 at 2:40 am

In reply to Stuart (19th March),
I am currently running from from source to sea, but am doing it bit by bit in sections rather than in consecutive days like yourself. I run about 22km – 32km at a time and base my start and end points by the closest train station. From the source until Oxford facilities and public transport is sparse. It’s quite rural, but very beautiful. Cricklade and Lechlade are the best places to aim for before Oxford, after which there are plenty of towns and facilities for the remainder of the route. Running the Thames (or any river) is an amazing and unique way to see the country. I’m really enjoying it. I highly recommend it to you.

Faye Anderton

19 July 2019 at 1:20 pm

Hi there, I begin my 100 mile walk from Hammersmith back to Abingdon next week. Looking at the weather forecast it is going to be a scorcher. I can see water points marked on the thames path planning guide, but there are none listed anywhere near London or towards Reading direction. Can anyone suggest any shops or water points that are very close to the path along the way? Thanks!

Lindsay Vibert

20 July 2019 at 8:59 am

My wife and I traveled from Australia to walk the Thames Path. We had the luxury of 18 days walking from the Source to London during September 2018. We had rest days in Windsor and Oxford. And not a drop of rain the entire journey.
The highlight for me was the entire journey from the Source to Oxford.
The lowlight was passing a naked hiker near Shifford lock. I am still trying to figure out what he was doing!

We have previously also completed a walk from Oxford to Bath in Sept 2016.

Cheers
Lindsay

Mary B

5 August 2019 at 11:22 pm

I am completing the whole route this year, a day at a time, using public transport from London, freedom pass London area and busses via links from high Wycombe, (Henley, maidenhead, etc and even a once a day lovely village route into oxford). I also use X90 coach to oxford bus links, (both
sides of Oxfordshire), trains to Reading and the source. I particularly love journeys on local community services
Such as after leaving oxford bus station at 8.45 – (first x90 out of London) on a 66 to Faringdon, then Pulhams coach 113 to Radcot, Thursdays only! Much careful planning involved as part of the fun! Just be sure to arrive back into a village in time for the last bus, often a school service. Sometimes things do go wrong – a service from Bablock Hythe no longer runs! This meant a 3 mile trek to Farmoor and darkness. (Now I’ve reached the main road, which direction for a bus stop?) A kind soul carrying a phone with a torch showed me the way alongside that busy road and across to the stop for oxford.
I’m about to do another patch now. Oxford, Whitney, Buckland to catch a community minibus T01 for Hinton Waldrist high street. (Only one outward journey on 3 week days). Then I plan to walk via Duxford to Shifford Lock Cut and on to the Rose Revived, New bridge. Last busses back toward Oxford 17.15 and 18.29. Make sure you’re there, Mary! Now, what I am trying to remember is, on which side of the road do I stand for the correct destination? Wish me luck!

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