The Thames Path

Walked: The Thames Path

Date: 31 August 2013 – 10 September 2016

Distance: 184 miles

Walked with: Alone or with various ‘guest star’ walkers

Weather: Often wet, cold and muddy 

Today I finally finished the Thames Path, after a number of other attempts earlier this year were aborted due to the tendency of the Thames – pretty much as soon as you get past Kingston – to flood. National Trail #12 now completed!

I’ll tell you straight out; as far as National Trails go, this one is right at the bottom of my list (The Ridgeway is juuuuust above it). For me, it’s at it’s best in London, when the constantly changing river and cityscape envelopes it with an urban hug. And to be fair, that’s where most people finish it. But as I live not far from The Thames Barrier, it was inevitable that I’d start in SE London before gradually making my way out. And by the time I got as far as Windsor I realised… I was committed to section walking the flipping thing.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bad walk. But I love hill walking, and there’s only one (tiny) one, near Pangbourne. I like expansive views; this is lots of very expensive houses, an incredible amount of WW2 pill boxes (in Oxfordshire), and, well, a river. Signage and mud are often both an issue as well, and today, being my final day was no exception – the way marking between Cricklade and the Source could definitely do with some work.

That said, I have seen some really beautiful buildings, wandered in to some truly posh local pubs, and in the winter it can be quite lovely. So here’s a few photos from my various trots along the Thames Path -including a number of my favourite flooding ones!

   
    
    
    
 

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About silkakt

I'm a map addict. I nip out in my lunch break to go to the National Map Centre, just around the corner from where I work, to feed my habit. My fix normally costs £7.99 and comes in the form of an OS map, although I'm a big fan of Sustrans cycle maps, the Trailblazer walking guides and maps of the world too. And once I've got my new map, I start plotting - routes, adventures and an escape away from the office that I spend too much time in. Maps, quite simply, make the world a better and more exciting place.
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4 Responses to The Thames Path

  1. andrew taylor says:

    Well done you finishing the thing. Doesn’t sound too inspiring. Which of the trails would be your favourite? We’re off with Jules and Steve at the end of the week to walk up through Northern Portugal and into Spain for a coupe of weeks. Should be fun. take care xx Andy and Laura mwjdb@aol.com

    • silkakt says:

      I’ve only just seen this! Shows I need to blog more often. How are you guys and what was the Portugal/Spain walk? Was it one of the Camino de Santiago routes?

  2. Ian Oakley says:

    First long distance trail I did – and we continued all the way to Shoeburyness to do the whole river… Since then I’ve done The Ridgeway/ The North Downs Way and am just finishing The Cotswold Way National Trails (also done some other LDW routes like The Essex Way).

    I suppose how you will find any trail is what you are looking for in it. To me growing up beside river, in Leigh on Sea, The Thames has always been part of my life so when I retired it was the one long distance trail I wanted to do (then I got the bug 🙂 …)

    So before the walk, I absorbed myself in its history (and there is a LOT) and even read ‘Three men in a boat again’. To me this made the whole journey fasinating and to experience the changes from complete solitude of the first few sections – the ‘messing about in boats’ beauty of the Windsor to west London legs, followed by one of the ‘Lonely Planet’ top rated walks in the whole world through London then out into the run down factories and marshs of Kent and Essex and then to finally finishing at the seaside at home is still the best walk I have taken. (and containing no large hills its a great introduction to long distance walking!

  3. Paul says:

    I feel the same way about it. I originally did the River Wey Path between Godalming and the Thames and loved it. Seeing the river slowly grow felt like you were on a journey with it. Also the scenery was really varied. One minute you were passing through a town, the next you were in the countyside passing a ruined Abbey.
    The Thames, I felt, had none of that charm. It was big and very urbanised. Felt more like a trudge.

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