Berkshire (and Oxfordshire) walk around Streatley and Goring-on-Thames
PUBLISHED: 10:21 21 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:21 21 November 2017
Follow Steve Davison as he heads to Streatley for a walk with views across the Goring Gap before crossing the River Thames to the neighbouring Oxfordshire village of Goring-on-Thames
From the car park the walk strides out along Lardon Chase, offering some lovely views across the Goring Gap where the River Thames flows between two adjacent areas of outstanding natural beauty; the North Wessex Downs and the Chilterns. Soon we head steeply downhill to arrive at Streatley, whose history dates back to Anglo-Saxon times and probably a lot earlier than that – the ancient Icknield Way crossed the Thames here. Beside the crossroads is The Bull at Streatley pub where Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat had lunch whilst travelling along the River Thames.
The walk then heads down the High Street, passing the 18th-century Streatley House which was once the home of the Morrell family, former brewers in Oxford. Nearby is the Parish Church of St Mary, which dates from the 13th century; inside are some interesting 15th- to 17th-century brasses.
After crossing the River Thames we arrive at the neighbouring Oxfordshire village of Goring-on-Thames. Stop-off at the Norman church of St Thomas of Canterbury, built by Robert d’Oilly, a Norman baron and staunch supporter of William the Conqueror, who held 60 manors including ‘Garinges’ (Goring). The church features a bell cast in 1290 – believed to be one of the oldest in Britain – whilst the wooden rood screen is carved out of oak from HMS Thunderer, a bomb-ketch that fought under Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Soon we follow the Thames Path for a while before arriving at Goring Lock – a great place for boat watching – before re-crossing the Thames back to Streatley on the Berkshire side of the river. The final leg of the walk climbs up through fields and woods to arrive back at the car park.
• Start/finish: National Trust car park (SU582506) on the B4009, half a mile west from the A329 at Streatley (the walk may also be started from Goring and Streatley rail station)
• Map: OS Explorer 170 and 159
• Distance: 4.75 miles (7.7km)
• Terrain: steep up and down, tracks and paths, some gates, and sections of road
• Time: 2.5 hours
• Refreshments: Streatley: The Bull (01491 872392), Swan Hotel and Boathouse Café (01491 878860); Goring-on-Thames: Miller of Mansfield (01491 872829) The John Barleycorn (01491 872509), Catherine Wheel (01491 872379), Pierreponts Café (01491 874464)
1 (SU582806) – Head to the far end of the National Trust car park and go through a gate. Follow the path along the top of Lardon Chase, keeping close to the left-hand edge for 600m, passing some seats with views across the Goring Gap towards the Chilterns. Where the fence turns sharp left, turn right (south-east) and head steeply downhill towards Streatley. At the bottom, go through the gate at the field corner and follow the gravel track to reach the B4009. Cross over and turn left down to a crossroads beside the Bull at Streatley pub on the right. Cross straight over the A329 and continue down the High Street (B4009); shortly on the left is a lane leading to St Mary’s Church.
2 (SU594808) – Pass The Swan Hotel and Boathouse Café, then cross the two bridges over the River Thames to enter the neighbouring Oxfordshire village of Goring-on-Thames. Continue straight on past Pierreponts Café and at the junction beside the Miller of Mansfield pub turn right along Manor Road; on the right is the Church of St Thomas of Canterbury. Follow the road to the junction beside the John Barleycorn pub and take the second road on the right (straight on) along Manor Road for 550m; the Catherine Wheel pub is to the left along Station Road.
3 (SU600801) – At the footpath sign turn right along the track for 125m, then fork slightly right along the enclosed path to reach the Thames and turn right along the Thames Path (river on left). Just before the road bridge, with Goring Lock beyond, turn right along the lane past the former mill and turn left up the steps. Cross the B4009 and turn left for 300m re-crossing the Thames and passing The Swan. At the junction, with the Church of St Mary to the right, turn left across the road and follow Vicarage Lane (footpath sign). Near the end, turn right along the enclosed path which soon turns left, following a high fence, to reach the A329.
4 (SU592804) – Turn left for 50m and then right across the road to a driveway. Immediately turn left along a permissive path, running parallel with the road (road on left). After 250m a path joins from the left, keep ahead through the trees for a further 250m, still running parallel to the road and pass through a kissing gate. Keep ahead to the far side of the field and turn right, keeping the field boundary on the left. Follow the path as it curves right to join a track and go through a gate. Follow the track steeply uphill to a gate at the top; take a breather and admire the views. Go through the gate and follow the track, soon passing through another gate, to arrive at a cross path junction. Keep ahead along the level path, later curving right and descending to a gate and path junction. Go straight on gently uphill and as the track bears left to a gate, keep ahead on the path and cross the road back to the car park.
To find out more about Steve, including his walking books, visit: www.steve-davison.co.uk
• The ultimate Berkshire walking guide - With the North Wessex Downs, Windsor’s Long Walk and a whole host of beautiful towns and villages, Berkshire is an amazing place for a stroll