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Thames Path: Thames Head to Woolwich (London)

by: Joel Newton & Anna Udagawa & William Allberry

UPDATES

Updated information

Thank you to those who wrote in with the following updates including: Paul Chapman, David Schache and Janine Watson, Stuart Blackburne, Phil Robinson, Nigel Pearson, Michael Rennie

 

Particular thanks to Wendy Tobbitt.

 

The information has not yet been checked by Trailblazer but it will be for the next edition.

Updates relating to the 3rd edition

 

April 2024

Antipodea Cafe, Radnor Gardens, Twickenham has closed. 

 

August 2023

For further interest: 

Thames Traditional Boat Festival (in its 44th year) held in Henley-on-Thames every July.  A fun family day out, the biggest most exciting river boating event in Europe,  steam, wood, varnish, craftsmanship, vintage, retro, antique fair, boat jumble. www.tradboatfestival.com

 

May 2023

Map 40, pp168-9  The Environment Agency closed Tmple Bridge on 15th May because it is unsafe and it will be closed for the foreseeeable future. 

The diversion route from Marlow is through Bisham and then Temple Lane, then right towards the river and on to Hurley Lock.

From Hurley Lock the route is via the footpath from Thames Path to public footpath and Temple Lane, and then into Bisham.

Some of the diversion is on country footpaths, the rest on a country lane and busy road through Bisham villagage.

Temple Bridge is not labelled on the map but is the bridge by Temple Lock and Temple Lane (also not labelled) is the road to/from Bisham.

For more information see 

https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/en_GB/short-routes/temple-bridge-closed-thames-path-on-diversion-may-2023-onwards/ 

 

March 2023

Map 27, p139  The Environment Agency is starting work at Benson Lock. They have about 12 months or so to rebuild the weir and the weir bridge to make it wider. They’re also putting in a fish pass. There are rumours of a local boatyard providing a ferry for people who don’t want to walk the diversion but nothing has been confirmed and it may only operate at weekends.

 

pp209-11  Team2100 in London did flood defence work on embankments at Barnes/Mortlake in 2022 but the Thames Path should now have reopened.

 

Map 61, p229; p234  The covered Globe View Walkway has opened on the northern bank and it means that the path now stays by the river instead of going inland to go round The Samuel Pepys pub. The name 'Globe View' is obviously because you can see the Globe Theatre amongst other iconic sights. There is also coloured lighting along the walkway. As of July 2023 signage is now in place so it should be easy to find this new route, especially as it stays beside the river.

 

September 2022

p79  Because of the lack of rain in winter 2021 and very dry conditions this year, groundwater in the aquifer below Trewsbury Mead is very low. The source of the River Thames dried up and the river bed was dry for several miles. It is possible this will happen again in future dry periods.

 

p153 and Map 37, p160  The upstream bridge at Marsh Lock, Henley, closed on 5th May 2022 and will stay closed for the foreseeable future. There is a signed diversion along public and permitted footpaths and there may be extra fencing/signage to ensure people don’t stray onto the polo pony paddocks. The Environment Agency closed the bridge because it was unstable. It's probably going to be a significant rebuild.  

 

p157 and Map 35, p157  Sonning  The bus stops shown on the map are only for the No 127,128 & 129 bus routes.  One stop is on Pearson Rd at the end of the High St; the other is on Sonning Lane (B446). 
The 850 only stops on Bath Rd (A4). To get there either walk along the B478 - the busy main road from the bridge - and turn right onto Pearson Rd, then first left along Pound Lane and turn left at the end onto Bath Rd, or take a 127,128 or 129 bus two stops to Hawthorn Way (the name of the stop on Bath Rd).

 

p158 (and Map 37, p160)  The Baskerville pub at Shiplake has reopened, limited days and hours, after a significant refurbishment. (https://www.thebaskerville.com/). This is a good stopping point for people if they don’t want to stop in Henley. 

 

p162  The River & Rowing Museum in Henley is closing on 1st October for major refurbishment and fixing the leaky roof. It is not certain if the cafe and shop will remain open so check in advance.

 

p164  The Flower Pot at Aston is still closed (March 2023) as the renovation work is still ongoing.

 

June 2022

p131, p137 and Map 24 p131  The last three cooling towers of Didcot Power Station came down in January 2020 so the texxt/map references should have been removed.

 

Map 25 pp132-3  The section at Clifton Meadow and round the bend towards Day's Lock is now much more interesting and there is more wildlife to see due to the Earth Trust's River of Life II backwaters, pools and information boards.

 

Updates relating to the 2nd edition

May 2022

Experiences of camping from a walker: 'I wild camped in three places without any problems. Pitching late and between the path and the river seems to be the best approach.'  And here below is his feedback: 
 
Shifford Lock Campsite is closed until further notice.
 
Standlake. Lincoln Park Farm is not open to backpackers. It does not have grass tent pitches, but has pitches that can accommodate tents. These pitches have gravel bases so thick ground sheets and rock pegs are recommended.
 
Abingdon Lock. Camping on the lock is allowed although they only have drinking water and a toilet - the price was £10.
 
p 137, Crowmarsh Gifford. Bridge Villa Camping is open.  
 
Cookham Lock is closed to camping.

Sunbury Lock. Apps Court Farm next to Sunbury Lock has a huge camping field but you have to book online and then phone to get the code to the gate off the towpath.
 
This walker recommended phoning ahead to campsites to check availability because it can save a lot of wasted walking at the end of a hard day.

 

June 2021

p145 Map 38 Streatley
p146  Chaddleworth is a fabulous house in a very peaceful setting. Cake, such as a delicious banana bread, is served on arrival and breakfast is cooked on an Aga. Overall they can sleep up to six people but due to COVID they are not letting the non en suite room. However, they will for a group as then they can share the facilities. 
 
It is easy to reach Chaddleworth from the path - just walk diagonally (back on yourself if coming from the west) through the recreation ground and go through the gate when you reach the road and then turn right. It is signed as Cleeve Court.
 

 

p175, Map 55.    A walker sent us feedback: "The walking time from Boulter’s Lock to Maidenhead Bridge is given as 40–50 minutes.  Google Maps gives the distance as 0.8 miles and the walking time as 16 minutes.  We noticed that a number of the suggested walking times along this stretch of the river were longer than they should have been."

Updates relating to the 1st edition

July 2017

p144 Streatley. Chaddleworth B&B, Streatley, Reading, RG8 9PR. Two double rooms which can be set up as twins. Mobile: 07711 420 586. 

 

May 2017

p28, Camping.   Whilst there are no recognised formal campsites inside the M25, campinmygarden.com lists several locations close to the path where for a modest fee you can book a pitch in a private garden for a night or two.

pp77/9, Map 1. The Thames Head Inn campsite has been refurbished and is now flat and sheltered. There is a  toilet and shower combined into a single unit for use by campers. However the fee has increased to £20 per tent.
 
Kemble, The Tavern Inn now charges £7 for a one man tent, otherwise no significant changes under the new owners.
 
In Kemble there is a new housing estate "Old Manor Gardens"" north of Station Road beween the railway line and the village shop.
 
page 88, Map 9. Second Chance Touring Park campsite, Marston Meysey,  is undergoing a major refurbishment including the building of several lodges/chalets. The camping fee is currently unchanged at £6 pp. There is a public footpath, not shown on the map, from just north of the drainage ditch to the campsite entrance across the fields - shorter than walking via the roads.
 

November 2016

p78 Map 1. Two walkers  from Australia wrote they stayed at the Thames Head Inn and walked to the path along A433 which was very busy with traffic and no verge.   They recommend an alternative, safer way - which is to go over the back fence behind the car park of Thames Head and skirt around the edge of the field to the right and this brings you around to a gate with a legitimate site to cross directly over the rail line (with care) and another gate into next field, then along edge of that field to corner of stone fence and to path.  They also said the walk north from the Thames Head to the Thames - Severn canal and portal into the tunnel is well worth the detour - great bit of history / construction.

p113 Map 24. Existing note “go over bridge not under”   is actually “go over ROAD not under “   - as you don’t actually cross the bridge in a strict sense.

p125 Map 28. Some excellent seats at “Boat House” at 034 (near Radley)  to sit and eat.   Good to know if they are any good spots to stop for lunch coming up.  

p102 Map 16 Rushley Lock . There is now a new bitumen road to walk along from Rushley Lock to the road at Tadpole bridge.

p138 Wallingford. The Coach Makers Arms no longer doing evening meals.  

The Old Post Office. Offers evening meals and has good food and ambience. 

p92 Map 12 Upper Inglesham to Inglesham.   Two walkers reported they walked this section - and whilst not pleasant - it certainly wasn’t particularly unsafe (and not like the A433 at Thames Head), and the 2nd crossing at Inglesham needs particular care.

Re swimming, two walkers noted at Kelmscott a triathalon and they had swum in the river and  they noted a few spots on the stretch - Oxford to Abingdon with good safe access and they had a dip. 

Accommodation, London. Staybridge Suites, 100 Vauxhall Walk, Lambeth. Some walkers stayed here for one week and found it excellent accommodation and very close to the path - and central for walking everywhere in central London.

 

Thames Path: Thames Head to Woolwich (London)