Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Travel Tuesday : The Thames Path, day 6 - Clifton Hampden to Goring

walked and originally written May 11, 2002

2020: Full disclosure: I have no notes from this day, somehow, apart from the captions I wrote for each of the photos I took, and a cryptic list probably jotted during a break in Wallingford:

- breakfast chat
- walk back to Clifton Hampden, church
- till Days Lock saw exactly 2 boats and 2 walkers
- followed a long curve of the river
- cattle - warning sign
- Shillingford - beautiful spot by river
- met an Australian couple who were through-walking
- outside B met a woman out with her dog and 10 year old son
- handsome Benson Lock
- Wallingford - the Boathouse Pub

But let's see how much I can piece together, eh?

I wish I could remember the "breakfast chat", but nope. Then I walked back to Clifton Hampden and stopped at its pretty Church of St. Michael and All Angels. Even the gateway to the churchyard is pretty:

The churchyard is pretty -- essentially the perfect village church.

Sir Giles Gilbert Scott restored the church in the 1840s.

From the churchyard, you can look down to the river below and see his handsome bridge. 02 - George Gilbert Scott's bridge from the churchyard, Clifton Hampden. I'd be crossing it again soon to continue down the path.

But first, how cute are these cottages in Clifton Hampden?

I recrossed the bridge, looking back at the church on the bluff in Clifton Hampden.

The path followed the long curve of the river. Looking across I could see a handsome riverside villa in Burcot. (Note that the one I stayed in was much less grand!)

Near Day's Lock I saw a field warning sign: beware of bull. I'd read that farmers sometimes discourage walkers with these signs, whether there were cows in the field or not.

I crossed to the other bank at Day's Lock and continued on.

The path turned away from the river for a bit at the site of a former ferry, though there were thoughts of building a footbridge there. But in 2002 the path clearly indicated the way to Shillingford, a pretty village near the river. The road to the village takes you past the aptly named Wisteria Cottage, with its wisteria stretching more than 50 yards long. I love love love wisteria.

The path takes an interesting turn down a narrow track between two buildings:

Just as you turn down this track, you pass high water marks on the corner of a building. Note that the highest is well over 6 feet off the ground.

In addition to floods, clearly you need to beware of ducks as you approach Shillingford Bridge.

Near Shillingford Bridge itself, the path returned to the river.

Across the river I noticed a caravan park with spectacular stairs. Such a pretty location! Somewhere along this stretch I must have met the Australian through-walkers. Sadly, I have no memories of them... but I now just feel envious of them!

I soon passed Benson and crossed the weir at Benson Lock. 

Looking upstream to Benson from the weir:

Looking upstream to Benson weir:

The path here is out in the open, so I soon had my first glimpse of Wallingford -- that's the spire of St. Peter's.

Once in Wallingford I could of course not resist taking a break at the handsome Boathouse pub. I had a pint by the river and, apparently, scribbled the notes about the day's walk so far.

The pub is right at Wallingford Bridge, and has a nice view of it from the terrace.

St. Peter's spire ... also visible from the pub ... was designed in the 18th century by Sir Robert Taylor.

Soon I was back on the path along the river.

I love this old boathouse, just downriver from Wallingford:

This stretch was pleasant and gentle, just following the river along the towpath. Near Cholsey, however (the "stopping point" for a stretch in Sharp's book), the path turned away from the river and followed a busy road where you would have to "endure the traffic". Sharp noted that at some point the path would open along the river again, and "signs will point the way". But, but... look at the map. There's a clear path along this bank of the river, going under the railway viaduct. 

As it was built by Brunel -- who by now you must realize is a bit of a hero of mine -- I was determined to follow the path to walk under it. And, with a bit of bushwacking, I did. Here's the second bridge, built in 1892...

And here's Brunel's original, built between 1838 and 1839.

In Moulsford I tried to go to the Beetle & Wedge, which was once a fine riverside pub, but even in 2002 had been turned into a posh restaurant -- and one where walkers aren't particularly welcome. Which was a shame, because I had hoped to have lunch there!

On I walked, my final destination of Goring not far away. I passed this fun modern house, just after Moulsford:

And then saw these boathouses on the outskirts of Goring:

I passed Cleeve Lock (this is a shot looking back upstream at it):

And another exceedingly handsome boathouse in Goring. You can keep the main house, I'd just like the boathouse, please.

Goring Lock has a pretty white lock house visible from afar.

To get there, you need to cross a field, where I spotted this horse and foal. Awww.

From the lock I crossed the river and headed to Goring and Streatley Station, where I caught a train home.

One great thing I learned at some point was that you could buy a return ticket to your farthest destination on the river, and then catch the return trip back from a different station. Because returns are significantly cheaper than two one-way tickets, this was a great trick.

Next up: Goring to Sonning

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