29 Templars Way
Penkridge
Stafford ST19 5HR

Tel: 01785 714386


Dear Friends

THAMES PATH (184 Miles)

I will be walking again for Macmillan, but hopefully will not encounter the same conditions as last year's Shropshire Way. This will be totally different from last year, where the Footpaths were totally unmaintained from Shrewsbury to Craven Arms and I walked in temperatures of 34 degrees, taking 9 hours to cover 14 miles top.

The Thames Path, which is a National Trail, begins with the River Thames, a small spring, occasionally dry, at Thames Head, a short distance from Kemble Railway Station (Oxfordshire) and around five miles from Cirencester.

The River Thames begins to develop slowly from a stream, then becoming the River Isis before reaching Lechlade, finally reaching the Thames Barrier at Greenwich, fifteen days later, which includes a two night stop at Windsor.

Accommodation again has played a part, making some shorter days possible and I hope that the weather will be a little kinder, but there is very little chance of being blown over, as the entire Trail has only minor elevations.

There will be much River traffic from Marlow to Henley and to pass through Runnymede which I visited sixty years ago.

I would again like to thank you for your encouragement over the years and will be posting my daily Blog to the website https://www.penkridge.org.uk

Anyone wishing to donate online can do so by visiting the following website:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/keithburton


Keith

Daily Route and Mileage (total of 184 miles)

   

 

Keith Burton's Daily BLOG APPEARS BELOW

 

  12 June Arrived at Kemble at 2pm - raining.  When putting on waterproofs I was given a lift from the station to the Thames Head hotel.  It would have been a wet cross country walk.  Today I did a mile walk to the source of the Thames - a stone with a small circle of stones but no water!  I retraced my steps, crossed the A433 to walk to Kemble for a pit stop and then returned, passing Lyds Well which, after rain, shows the first sign of the Thames.  Heavy rain forecast for tomorrow, maybe few photos.  
     
First Day of Walk - 13 June Thames Head to Cricklade (the White Heart Inn) 12½ miles -  Left hotel at 9am and walked along the busy Fossway to pick up footpath, passing Lyds Well, but dry.  Continued along the river bed to cross A429 and along a tree lined clear track to Parkers Bridge, where the first pools are seen.  A short road walk to Ewan.  From here it was very wet long grass passing two farms on to Neigh Bridge C.P.  Then a spine road through a water park to Ashton Keynes.  Passed more of the Water Park lakes to reach an old Railway Trackbed to Cricklade.  I was advised by a local runner (Sarah) to avoid the Thames path and to use the trackbed to arrive at the The White Heart, Cricklade, at 3.30pm  
Friday 14 June
Cricklade to Lechlade (New Inn) 11 miles - Left Cricklade at 8.30am and raining heavily.  Walked back to point of entering the town.  Then under the A419 to walk along the Isis.  Little to see so just head down and plod on in the rain.  There was then a sudden change - no rain at Castle Eaton and a 1.5Km road to Blackford Farm, then easy walking on short grass.  From Bridge Farm a clear but muddy path for 2Km.  Footpath changed to miss walking by the A361 and moved to a new way along the river.  So peaceful.  Saw first boats near Lechlade.  Arrived at New Inn at 3.30pm
 
Saturday 15 June Lechlade to Brighthampton (The Cottage) 17½ miles - Left Letchlade 8.15am.  Overcast but dry.  Returned to bridge to continue on a 16 mile isolated section to Newbridge with 6 miles to Radcot for lunch and another 4 miles to Tadpole bridge, St. Johns lock with keepers cottage complete with lovely garden.  The footpath at times was away from the river through hay meadows with many poppies.  Cornflowers and wild grass made easy walking but no one to be seen apart from at pit stops.  Heavy rain at Tadpole Inn.  Such an isolated 6 miles.  Head down and plod on.  I arrived at B&B at 4.45pm.
 
Sunday 16 June Brighthampton to Oxford (Cherwell Guest House) 14 miles - Driven to Newbridge at 8.30am to a heavy downpour.  Through the garden of Rose Revival to continue along a busy boating section.  Easy walking through large hayfields to Northmore lock, the first of several.  Again it was very remote to Babcock Hythe and an early coffee at the Ferryman Inn.  Just passing with an invite to come in but closed until 12noon.  Rough path for 2Km to rejoin path near Pink Hill lock.  Met two walkers from yesterday and given £10 donation.  Next was Swinford Bridge.  Met a local family and met again at the Trout, Lower Wolvercote, receiving a £50 donation from them.  Completely overwhelmed.  Then taxi across the city, arriving at Guest House at 4.45pm.  I forgot to add that around 2 Km from Kings Lock there was a "Rave", many Teepees with the ground vibrating from across the River to Joleen with excessive Bass.
Monday 17 June Oxford to Abingdon (Abingdon Inn) - 10 miles - Left Guest House at 8.15am to Folly Bridge crossing Magdalene bridge and then passing through areas where Morse was filmed.  Through open meadows and many boathouses.  Pit stop at Iffley lock.  Limited views of river.  Sandford lock has the greatest fall of water on the Thames and is known as the Sandford Lasher.  From here 4 miles to reach Abingdon bridge, walking through meadows of barley and wheat, arriving at Abingdon at 1.30pm
 
 
Tuesday 18 June Abingdon to Wallingford (Blackstone Road) - 14 miles - Left Abingdon Bridge at 8.15am.  Crossing a sports ground with many trying to catch an early fish for breakfast.  From Culham Bridge there were limited river views to Culham.  Passed by a friendly couple and again at Culham Lock.  From there a large southerly loop to Clifton Hampton Bridge which had to be crossed.   From that point I could see many thatched cottages but no time to explore.  Soon passing many mansions on the other bank.  Now returned to open meadows not field edges.  Left groin painful and I decided to leave path at Days Lock heading for Dorchester for bus to Wallingford.  As I was passing the White Heart I was seen by the same couple and invited to join them for amber nectar!   Such kindness.  I then walked a further mile to the bus stop.  I arrived at Wallingford at 2.30pm.  Called at Boots for pain relief.  
Wednesday 19 June
Wallingford to Pangbourne (George Hotel) - 12 miles - Left Wallingford at 8.15am.  Overcast but dry.  Through the town to St. Leonards, the oldest church.  Passed new boathouse for the elite Oxford Rowers.  Passed Chelsey area owned by the King of Wessex AD591 and also the resting place of Agatha Christie.  Pleasant walking to Moulsford but limited river views.  From here it was a one mile road walk through the village to rejoin the river at the Beetle at Wedge.  Arriving just before the party of four arrived who kindly paid for a pot of tea when a placid duck became active.  Another four miles of easy walking to Streatley.  A major junction with the ridgeway.  Pit stop here where party of four arrived.  Another four miles to Pangbourne but after 1.5 miles the path leaves the river through Hartslock wood where there were some steep ascents with an elevated view of the river to begin with.  The woods giving shelter from the rain.  From here it was a road walk through Coombe Park.  Whitchurch and over bridge to Her......
Thursday 20 June
Pangbourne to Henley (The Gables) - 12 miles - left the George Hotel at 8.15am and short walk to riverside.  This was a stroll across Pangbourne meadow with much river traffic all the way to Mapledurham lock for all of 2 miles.  Left river here to walk through Tilehurst rejoining river 2K later.  It was more of a bridleway now - cycles and runners were a problem  at times.  Passing so many expensive houses along the opposite bank as approaching Reading.  Under Caversham bridge through Kings Meadow onto Sonning 4 miles from here.  Pit stop at the Bull where J K Jerome stayed.  Three men in a boat area.  Also George Clooney lives next door.  Pressure blisters on base of feet with another 6 miles to walk.   Decided to get train from Twyford to Henley and arrived at The Gables at 2.30pm. I will view time trials tomorrow for the Ladies Regatta on Saturday.  We have Rowers at my B & B.
Friday 21 June
Henley to Marlow (Oak House) - Short drive to riverside across the bridge.  From there the towpath was a mass of marquees, spectators and rowing boats as this weekend is the Ladies Regatta.  With the start at Temple Island back to the bridge.  From this point there is a bend walking through open pasture by the river.  Left the river through Aston then a deer park to Hurley lock with cafe.  Then on to Temple Lock.  Crossing river for 1.4 mile track into court gardens Marlow, where there was a Rave in the park.  Arrived at 1.45pm - a lovely walk in the sun.
Saturday 22 June
Marlow to Windsor (Cedar Tree)
-
Driven to Marlow bridge to continue.  Although convoluted, known as seven corners alley
Hard on my feet skirting winter hill with houses on the slopes.  Passed Bourne End across Cock Marsh.  On open meadow to Cookham.  But more road walking to the riverside.  For the next 2.5 miles to Boulters Lock the path was almost totally enclosed.  Very narrow and feeling every shard of flint.  Impresive lock walking on almost a promonade alongside the river and A4094.  Having walked 8 miles I felt unable to walk 7 more on very sore feet to enable me to reach Greenwich in four days.  I arrived Windsor by train from Maidenhead at 2pm.
 
Sunday 23 June

Windsor - (Cedar Tree) - My rest day -
I walked to Eaton, a short walk from Windsor or will it be named BORISVILLE! 
The Castle was besieged by sons of Nippon.  I felt like raising my arms and shouting Banzie.  My feet have recovered.
 
Monday 24 June  

Windsor to Shepperton (Splash Cottage) - 14 miles - Left Windsor at 8.30am to walk through town passing the Castle. I was walking in a large arc around the Queens grounds of Home Park, meeting a fully armed policeman.  Joined B470 on the perimeter of Datchet for 1.5 miles.  Rejoined for a short section to Albert Bridge crossing.  Now walking through old Windsor on an estate road to enter Runnymede.  A short time viewing monuments before going under M25.  Open views along the river to Staines.  On a path then river walkway to Chertsy bridge and almost a dead end as it is a ferry crossing.  Have to turn left to go to Shepperton via taxi.  Downside is my water system leaking and lost all photos of the last four days.  Arrived at Splash Cottage at 3.45pm
 
Tuesday 25 June  

Shepperton to Richmond (Richmond Hill Hotel) - 15 miles - Arrived at Walton bridge at 9.15am to continue walk to Richmond 13 miles.  Julius Caesar forded the river here 54BC.  Pleasant start along the very busy section to Sunbury lock with Sunbury on other bank.  Totally enclosed for two miles with walls enclosing Mosley Reservoirs.  Pit stop at Hirst Park with church tower of St. Mary's, Hampton on other bank.  Fine views of Hampton Court from the bridge.  Huge curve passing Hampton Court Park.  Met Jenny's cousin David after Kingston bridge.  Swapped rucsacs and David cycled and I walked 3.5 miles to Richmond Bridge arriving 3.15pm.  Lost a lot of fluid due to high humidity.  £5 given by family near Richmond.  Total now £90.  Received another £5 from family dining at the White Horse a few yards from expensive Hotel.  Teddington lock 3.5 miles before Richmond is the first tidal lock on the way to the barrier.
 
Wednesday 26 June
Richmond to Hammersmith (Hotel 65) - 15 miles - Left Richmond at 8.45am and a much cooler day ahead.  The skyline is changing now.  Through Richmond lock with old deer park on right and Isleworth left.  Passed Syon Park and house built by James Watt.  Royal Botanic Gardens before Kew Bridge.  Now a long straight path where cycles and runners were a constant problem and almost knocked down many times.  But the tranquility of the many rowers!  Under Chiswick bridge with Mortlake and Barnes next.  Opposite the 200 year old Watneys brewery, and finally to the wonderfully ornate Hammersmith suspension bridge.  Arrived at Hotel 65 at 1.30pm - Last Day tomorrow!   I was given £5 by tea shop in St. Pauls Church, Hammersmith.  Now £95.
 
Thursday 27 June
Hammersmith to Greenwich (Travelodge) - LAST DAY'S WALK - 17 Miles - left Hammersmith 7.15am - all paths are paved or are cycleways from here.  I was ticking off each bridge as I walked under them.  Vauxhall, Lambeth (not the Lambeth Walk), Westminster, Waterloo and more, until Tower Bridge and the Tower of London and Traitors Gatee.  There were diversions through back roads of Bermondsey, Rotherhithe and Deptford - how it must have been 100 years ago!   Met Jenny's cousin Valerie and son Matthew.  Then friends Ruth and Giles carrying my rucksack 4 miles from the Cutty Sark to the Thames barrier to complete my 17th Annual Macmillan Trail.  Collecting £100 on the way.
 

                    

   Keith is taking photos on his walk so we will be putting some on this website when he returns at the end of the month