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Thames Path: Thames Head to the Thames Barrier

Thames Path: Thames Head to the Thames Barrier

Using this guide

Contents | Introduction | About the Thames Path | Planning your walk | Using this guide | Sample route guide

Using this guide

The following guide follows the Thames Path from west to east (ie downstream), beginning at the source of the river and concluding at the Thames Barrier.

It is split into 15 day stages. These do not have to be followed rigidly and with so much accommodation available en route you can pretty much divide your walk into as few or as many days as you want. See pp30-1 for some suggested itineraries.

To provide further help, practical information is provided on the trail maps, including walking times, places to stay and eat, public toilets as well as shops and supermarkets. Further service details are given in the text under the entry for each settlement.

For a condensed overview of this information see the village and town facilities table on pp32-7.

Trail maps

Scale and walking times
The trail maps are drawn to a scale of 1:20,000 (1cm = 200m; 31/8 inches = 1 mile). Walking times are given along the side of each map and the arrow shows the direction to which the time refers. Black triangles indicate the points between which the times have been taken.

The time bars are a tool and are not there to judge your walking ability. There are so many variables that affect walking speed, from the weather conditions to how many beers you drank the previous evening.

After the first hour or two of walking you will be able to see how your speed relates to the timings on the maps.

Up or down?
Other than when on a track, bridleway, or road, the trail is shown as a dashed line. In Trailblazer guidebooks an arrow across the trail indicates the gradient; two arrows show that it’s steep.

However, as there is only one gradient of note on this entire trail, you won’t see this symbol much. Note that the arrow points uphill, the opposite of what OS maps use on steep roads. Reversed arrow heads indicate downward gradient.

Other features
Features are marked on the map when of possible interest or pertinent to navigation. In order to avoid cluttering the maps not all features have been marked each time they occur.

The numbered GPS waypoints refer to the list on pp242-4.


Apart from larger towns (and especially for the London area) where some selection of places has been necessary, almost every place to stay that is on, or very close to, the actual trail is marked on the map.

Details of each place are given in the accompanying text.

The number of rooms of each type is stated, ie: S = Single, T = Twin room, D = Double room, Tr = Triple room and Qd = Quad.

Note that most of the triple/quad rooms have a double bed and one/two single beds (or bunk beds); thus for a group of three or four, two people would have to share the double bed but it also means the room can be used as a double or twin. See also p20.

Rates quoted for B&B-style accommodation are per person (pp) based on two people sharing a room for a one-night stay; rates are usually discounted for longer stays.

Where a single room (sgl) is available the rate for that is quoted if different from the rate per person.

The rate for single occu- pancy (sgl occ) of a double/twin may be higher, and the per person rate for three/four sharing a triple/quad may be lower. Unless specified, rates are for bed and breakfast.

At some places the only option is a room rate; this will be the same whether one or two people (or more if permissible) use the room. See p21 for more information on rates.

Unless otherwise stated you can assume that the accommodation described has en suite shower facilities in all its rooms.

The text only mentions where places have private, or shared, facilities (in either case this may be a bathroom or shower room just outside the bedroom).

A symbol in the text signifies that at least one room has a bath – either in an en suite room or in a separate bathroom – for those who prefer a relaxed soak at the end of the day.

Also noted is whether the premises have wi-fi (WI-FI) and if dogs (see also pp240-1) are welcome in at least one room (often places only have one room suitable for dogs), or at campsites, subject to prior arrangement, and any associated charges and requirements – some places make an additional charge while others may require a deposit which is refundable if the dog doesn’t make a mess.

If arranged in advance many B&B proprietors are happy to collect walkers from the nearest point on the trail and deliver them back again next morning; they may also be happy to transfer your luggage to your next accommodation place on the map.

Some may make a charge for either or both of these services. Check the details at the time of booking.

Thames Path: Thames Head to the Thames Barrier


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