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An intro to... The Thames Path
An intro to... The Thames Path

The Thames Path National Trail: everything you need to know

The 180-mile Thames Path from London to Gloucestershire is the only long-distance route to follow a river throughout its length from tidal waters, and also the only one to pass through London and major towns.

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As much as 90 per cent of the path is public footpath or bridleway. Walking the trail can easily take three weeks if you want to explore every town and village. Or you could spend years relishing the experience in a series of short weekend sections as public transport is plentiful. And then, having walked one way you may well be tempted to walk back and enjoy the equally splendid views from the other direction.

This book is a guide for those who want to walk upstream along the Thames Path from the Woolwich Foot Tunnel, London to Gloucestershire, and is therefore an alternative to the official National Trail guide designed to assist walkers heading from the river’s source downstream to the capital.

It includes a possible diversion at Culham to visit the attractive village of Sutton Courtenay on the Old Thames. However, London’s left-bank alternative route, designated by Natural England as an afterthought, is not included, as it is felt that long-distance walkers will prefer the original right-bank path, which avoids traffic and affords a fine view of the City of London.

The Thames Path - Front Cover

The Thames Path

National Trail from London to the river's source in Gloucestershire


A guidebook to walking the Thames Path, a National Trail covering 182 miles between the Woolwich Foot Tunnel and the river's source in Gloucestershire, passing through Windsor, Oxford and rural countryside. Provides full information for this easy riverside route that takes around two weeks to complete. Includes a 1:25K OS map booklet.

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How long is the Thames Path

This historic trail starts from the Thames Barrier in Central London and finishes in Gloucestershire at the river's source. The 180-mile (288km) National Trail is divided into 20 stages and can be walked, by walkers of average fitness, in three weeks.

How hard is the Thames Path?

It is an easy walk that passes some of London's great sights before heading into the delightful English countryside. It is well marked and maintained, with, as stated before, most of the route being on public footpaths or bridleways.

When should you walk the route?

The Thames Path is manageable at any time of the year although the days are shorter in winter and the number of daylight hours should be considered. Tide times will also need to be checked as there is a flood risk along many sections of the route. Public transport is also good enough that, from much of the path, you can return to London after a day of walking, if this is preferred.

Where should you stay?

There are plenty of options along this route so you can choose according to your budget, the Visit Thames website is a fantastic place to start.

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The Thames Path Map Booklet - Front Cover

The Thames Path Map Booklet

1:25,000 OS Route Map Booklet


Map of the 182 mile (290km) Thames Path National Trail, from the Woolwich Foot Tunnel in London to the river's source near Cirencester in Gloucestershire. This booklet is included with the Cicerone guidebook to the trail, and shows the full route on OS 1:25,000 maps. The easy riverside route takes around two weeks to walk.

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Stage Summary - The Thames Path

1Woolwich Foot TunnelTower Bridge10½ miles (16.8km)
2Tower BridgePutney10 miles (16km)
3PutneyKingston13 miles (20.9km)
4KingstonChertsey11 miles (17.7km)
5ChertseyStaines4 miles (6.4km)
6StainesWindsor7½ miles (12km)
7WindsorMaidenhead6½ miles (10.5km)
8MaidenheadMarlow7 miles (11.2km)
9MarlowHenley8½ miles (13.6km)
10HenleyReading9 miles (14.5km)
11ReadingPangbourne7 miles (11.2km)
12PangbourneGoring4 miles (6.4km)
13GoringWallingford7 miles (11.2km)
14WallingfordDorchester5 miles (8km)
15DorchesterAbingdon9 miles (14.5km)
16AbingdonOxford9½ miles (15.2km)
17OxfordNewbridge13½ miles (21.7km)
18NewbridgeLechlade16 miles (25.7km)
19LechladeCricklade10½ miles (16.8km)
20CrickladeThe Source12¼ miles (19.7km)
Total182 miles (292km)