Route for a Berkshire walk at Pangbourne along the Thames

PUBLISHED: 11:04 17 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:46 18 August 2020

Thames Path riverbank between Purley on Thames and Pangbourne

Thames Path riverbank between Purley on Thames and Pangbourne


Colin Wharton heads to Pangbourne for an 11-mile journey across the meadows and along the Thames

This is a great varied hike with a mixture of fields, woodland, open vistas and a final picturesque section along the Thames from the village of Pangbourne.

Pangbourne lies on the south bank of the River Thames, opposite Whitchurch-on-Thames, the other side of the river. The River Pang, a tributary of the River Thames, flows through the village and it is thought that its water voles inspired the author Kenneth Grahame's character, Ratty, in The Wind in the Willows. 


- Start/finish: Pangbourne Rail Station, Station Approach, Reading, RG8 7DY

- Map: OS Explorer 159, Reading, Wokingham & Pangbourne

- Distance: 11 miles or 17km

- Terrain: A substantial hike with a mixture of hilly open fields, woodland and flat river paths, and some short minor road sections

- Time: 4-5 hours

- Refreshments: The Greyhound

The walk

1 (SU 63294 76660) Pangborne station has two exists depending on your direction of travel. In either case, locate the exit and walk down the hill from the station to reach Station Road. (The station car park charges £5.20 per weekday or £3.30 on a Saturday and Sunday if you wish to use it).

From Station Road turn right and follow Station Road south on the right-hand side of the road. Shortly you will pass Pangbourne Station Road Car Park - this is free on Sundays and there are some convenient public toilets. Carry on along Station Road and cross the pedestrian crossing, and then turn left into the High Street. Use the next pedestrian crossing to reach the other side of the road and continue walking east, just past WHSmith, and turn right down a lane called 'The Moors'.

The lane eventually leads to a footpath across a lovely meadow. With the River Pang on your right, cross the small footbridge and continue following the path south with the river now on your left (marked on the OS map Berkshire Circular Routes). Follow this main path south, ignoring any other turns, until you reach a main road (Tidmarsh Road, A340). Exit the path and turn left, following the road south until you reach The Greyhound pub.

2 (SU 63527 74815) The Greyhound Pub is a refurbished 12th century pub and would make a nice early refreshment stop. There is also a small park and common opposite with picnic benches should you prefer to stop there.

Turn left from The Greyhound to follow Mill Lane east. Look for a green footpath sign on the left and cross the River Pang again, following the path. Follow the path across two fields and some small wooded sections until you reach Sulham Lane. Turn right and follow this small road carefully on the right-hand side until you reach a junction.

This is a beautiful area that comprises Sulham Woods, which is a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and includes woods, meadows and hills.

Turn right along Mill Lane from the junction and almost immediately cross to the other side of the road across a style and footpath towards a field. The path crosses some fields and a footbridge. Just after the footbridge turn left and follow the path uphill towards a small lane (Nunhide Lane).

At the lane turn left and follow the lane north-westerly looking out for a small signed path on your right. Take the path and follow it diagonally across the field south-easterly and uphill. You will eventually reach a small wooded section and another lane (Kiln Lane). Follow this downhill until you reach Little Heath Road.

3 (SU 65637 73710) At the road turn left and take the footpath on your left. After a short time it forks. Take the left- hand fork and follow the path across more fields uphill until you reach Sulham Hill Road.

4 (SU 64847 74520) Cross Sulham Hill Road and enter Sulham Wood, following the footpath on your left into the centre of the woodland and northwards. The path gradually runs close to fields that you can glimpse on your left. Follow the edge of the woodland through Mosshall Wood. Leave the woodland at a small exit at the edge of Mosshall Wood.

5 (SU 65197 75680) Follow the path downhill until you reach Beech Road. Turn right along Beech Road and follow this residential lane east until you reach the end at the bottom of the hill and the main road (Purley Rise, A329). Turn right and almost immediately turn left down a small Lane (Winston Way) northwards and then cross the railway line using a footbridge. At the end of the footbridge turn right and follow the footpath easterly as it winds into Purley Village. Follow this road east and take the second lane on the left (Mapledurham Drive). Follow this north until you reach the Thames.

6 (SU 66762 76783) At the Thames turn left and follow the Thames Path north-westerly with the river on your right. This path will now take you back to Pangbourne. Exit the path at the Whitchurch Bridge.

The Whitchurch Bridge is a curious toll road bridge over the River Thames that carries a road between the two villages of Pangbourne and Whitchurch-on-Thames. It is Grade-II listed and dates back to 1902, being one of only two private toll bridges across the River Thames.

Follow the Whitchurch Road south and almost immediately turn right along a narrow footpath. This footpath avoids the village and takes you to Shooters Hill. You are now facing the station entrance ahead and the end of the walk.

If you follow Shooters Hill right for a minute, you will see The Swan. The Swan is a lovely riverside pub with a beer garden overlooking the Thames should you wish to get refreshments. 


- Where are the best walks in Berkshire? - 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

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