Thames Path National Trail

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The Thames. A river that, perhaps more than any other, has helped define the nation.

For 184 miles the Thames Path National Trail follows the river, from its source down to the Thames Barrier to the east of London. From rural countryside on the west, through to one of the greatest urban walks in the world on the east, the Thames Path is a unique National Trail.

I started walking the trail in spring 2013 with my partner Catherine, and our son Sam. Starting from the eastern end we set off on our way to the source in day long hikes. Two bailed out part way along, but I kept on going. And going. And going. Right to the end.

Rambling Man Walks The Thames Path

Read about my journey in book format. Available for Kindle, iPhone, iPad, Kobo, Nook, Google Play and more.

Thames Path: Introduction

Published 7 November 2013

A baby may have arrived but that’s no reason to give up walking.

Thames Path Stage 1: Thames Barrier to Greenwich

Published 13 November 2013

The Thames Barrier, a white elephant, a former white elephant, crying baby and a brewery. Battenburg anyone?

Thames Path Stage 2: Greenwich to London Bridge

Published 20 November 2013

Tourists, famous bridges, tourists, famous buildings and tourists.

Thames Path Stage 3: London Bridge to Vauxhall

Published 27 November 2013

The Doctor, art, culture, markets, skateparks, bridges, oh so many bridges, a big dock-off wheel and where some politicians live.

Thames Path Stage 4: Vauxhall to Putney

Published 4 December 2013

A strange tour guide, flats, oh so many empty flats, a terrible cafe in a lovely park, bridges galore.

Thames Path Stage 5: Putney to Kew

Published 11 December 2013

Rowing boats everywhere, breweries everywhere, joggers everywhere, mud everywhere.

Thames Path Stage 6: Kew to Teddington

Published 8 January 2014

Ultra runners, locks, big parks and big houses, lots of people, a ferry and the non-tidal Thames.

Thames Path Stage 7: Teddington to Hampton Court

Published 15 January 2014

Some sort of boat things on the water, a royal palace, a royal town, a 500 year old tree, embarrassed of the river, and “Cameron did something or other”

Thames Path Stage 8: Hampton Court to Shepperton

Published 23 April 2014

Sun, moored up boats and a giant model of Shrek. Goodbye London, hello Surrey.

Thames Path Stage 9: Shepperton to Staines

Published 9 July 2014

Queues at the locks, the stairs and stripes, Laleham in Bloom and a great name for a dry cleaners.

Thames Path Stage 10: Staines to Windsor

Published 24 September 2014

Walking alone, an origami metal swan, Sludge Tank Number 2, a monument to democracy and a fantastically named MP, and a great big castle which takes up the river bank.

Thames Path Stage 11: Windsor to Bourne End

Published 7 January 2015

Money and influence, an extremely expensive education, a dip in the water, alleyways, trees and an idiot driving a car.

Thames Path Stage 12: Bourne End to Henley-on-Thames

Published 14 January 2015

Mud sticking to the boots, a magnificent suspension bridge, weather bomb, an island, pay for a picnic, the Hellfire Club, a tempting pub and put on your finery for the Regatta.

Thames Path Stage 13: Henley-on-Thames to Tilehurst

Published 1 April 2015

Mud, mud, glorious mud. Nothing quite like it for soothing the blood.

Thames Path Stage 14: Tilehurst to Cholsey

Published 8 April 2015

Mud, barbed wire, pain, suffering and a pub lunch.

Thames Path Stage 15: Cholsey to Culham

Published 15 April 2015

Snow everywhere, a town with few chain-stores, off along a diversion, a pub that wasn’t, and a race to the station.

Thames Path Stage 16: Culham to Oxford

Published 22 April 2015

A power station, lovely towns, brutally attacked picnic benches, graffiti and a seat of learning that just looks scruffy.

Thames Path: An evening in Oxford

Published 26 October 2016

Bicycles, wet, oh so very wet streets, students everywhere, and drinking with (and without) Inspector Morse.

Thames Path Stage 17 (Part 1): Oxford to Pinkhill Lock

Published 2 November 2016

Oxford by day, a stroll down the river, an unpaid toll, and a lock that’s not pink and not on a hill.

Thames Path Stage 17 (Part 2): Pinkhill Lock to Newbridge

Published 9 November 2016

Away from the river, a mysteriously absent ferry, flooding, mudding and then, finally, some drinking.

Thames Path Stage 18 (Part 1): Newbridge to Buckland

Published 16 November 2016

Flood, flood, glorious flood. There’s nothing quite like it for soothing the blood.

Thames Path Stage 18 (Part 2): Buckland to Lechlade

Published 23 November 2016

Back to the river, a promising return, hailstones the size of golf balls, a problem, and another, and another.

Thames Path Stage 19 (Part 1): Lechlade to Inglesham

Published 11 January 2017

A man and two dogs jumping through flooded fields, a discarded bra by the side of the road, and absolutely no chance of getting near the Thames at all.

Thames Path Stage 19 (Part 2): Inglesham to the Source

Published 18 January 2017

The final push. By bus and by train. A soggy field. And a stone saying that it was all very much over.

Thames Path Epilogue: Southend-on-Sea

Published 25 January 2017

After visiting the source, it was time to visit the place where the river Thames finished its journey.

Planning your Thames Path walk

Published 15 March 2017

Fancy a stroll up, or down, one of the longest and most important rivers in the United Kingdom? Plan your own walk on the Thames Path with our guide.

Thames Path National Trail - the trail highlights

Video The Thames Path – setting off from the Thames Barrier

Published 19 June 2013

The mighty and majestic monument to walking. And not flood defences at all.

Thames Path Gallery

Published 7 November 2013

From the source in the east, down to the barrier on the west.

Video Monkey Island: Thames Style

Published 25 March 2015

Just what do the Monkey Island computer games have to do with the Thames Path?

Video The Thames Path: A better ending?

Published 30 March 2016

At its eastern end, the Thames Path National Trail finishes next to the mighty metallic wonder of the Thames Barrier, not far from Woolwich. But is there a better place that this mighty long distance trail to end?

Thames Path Gallery

Published 1 February 2017

From rural Gloucestershire, through the suburbs to the gleaming metal of the Thames Barrier, the Thames Path follows the story of what is perhaps the UK’s most famous river.

Video At the start of the Thames Path

Published 8 February 2017

At its eastern end, the Thames Path finishes up at the mighty Thames Barrier. But what’s at the western end? Well it’s a field in Gloucestershire. A field from where the Thames’s journey really begins…

Also about Thames Path National Trail

National Trails – from old to new

Published 25 June 2023

In 2025 we’ll be getting a new National Trail. But how long have the others been around?

Now you can walk the whole length of the River Thames, from source to sea

Published 30 January 2022

The Thames Path itself may stop at the Thames Barrier, but now there’s one waymarked path that will take you along the Thames to the sea.

Three Men In a Boat (To Say Nothing of Another Writer Reading It For Bits He Could Quote In His Own Work)

Published 27 September 2020

Quotes from JK Jerome that I nearly used when writing up my own Thames Path journey. But ultimately didn’t.

How far would the crow have to fly to get from one end of the Thames Path, to the other?

Published 22 February 2017

Finding out just how direct – or not – the Thames Path actually is.

When is a walking trail “done”?

Published 15 February 2017

When do you class walking route as “done”? It’s a question that was firmly on my mind as I sat on a train heading home a few hours after arriving at the western end of the Thames Path,

A boat on the Thames at Reading

Published 12 July 2015

Note to self: go and finish the Thames Path.

Tower Bridge at Night

Published 24 November 2013

Fine views don’t just come from hills. You can find them on urban walks too.

Crossing a boundary, London style

Published 7 April 2013

Getting from one side of a boundary to another, London style.