Thames Path – Shiplake to Tilehurst

Walking the Thames Path from Shiplake near Henley to Tilehurst near Reading.

A nice simple start today; step off the train at Shiplake station on the Henley branch line and you are on the Thames Path.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

For some reason the Thames Path runs inland, rather than on the river bank, although the map suggests a riverside footpath exists.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

Leaving the road, the path heads through a field to a lock with a slightly remote feeling. Boats were pasing through, with the topic of conversation being someone who has apparently been banned from taking his boat through a bridge after hitting it too many times.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

The next few miles are a pleasent riverside walk, with boats to the left, fields to the right and red kites overhead.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

The Thames Path passes through the riverside grounds of a school.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

There was a surprising number of boats moored along this section of the river. And someone was playing the guitar on the opposite bank.
Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

The attractive but traffic-clogged and suprisingly hard to photograph bridge at Sonning.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

The pretty-and-they-know-it-is Grade II* listed timber-framed Bull Inn seems to be a compulsory stop when walking through Sonning. The church next door was open too.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

Another busy lock, where someone asked me if I had seen her dog which had run on ahead of her.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

Troll Bridge had a disappointing lack of Scandianvian creatures bothering goats or winding up people up on the internet.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

A floating party on inflatables out on the river.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

The town of Reading seems to avoid the River Thames.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

Next come the bridges between Reading and Caversham. First is the imaginatively named Reading Bridge of 1923.
Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

Next is Christchurch Bridge, opened in 2015.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

And finally Caversham Bridge, opened in 1926 on the site an ancient bridge.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

The path runs along Reading’s Thames Promenade, which was being used for a canoe competition.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

Back into the countryside again, before the path runs along a narrow space between the river and the elevated route of the adjacent railway.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

A footbridge leads over the railway, for a double-back to Tilehurst station and the end of today’s walk.

Thames Path - Shiplake to Tilehurst

Thames Path – Windsor to Maidenhead

A walk along the River Thames from Windsor to Maidenhand, on 12 May 2018.

Windsor was getting ready for the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel a week later.

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

The weather started to get a bit ropey. Maybe travelling by boat would have been a better option today.

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Eton College’s (former?) Athens bathing area. Guidebooks flag this up as a point of interest, but it’s not that exciting; maybe it is more interesting for old Etonians.

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

A nice little church by the river.

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Continuing along the leafy footpath.
Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

An organised event seemed to be heading in the opposite direction.

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

That doesn’t look good.

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path – Weybridge to Windsor

A walk along the Thames Path from Weybridge to Windsor, on 7 April 2018.

This section of the path gets off to an exciting start, with the Shepperton ferry. My previous walk had ended short of the target when the river was too fast-flowing for the ferry to operate, but this time I phoned in advance to check that it was running.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

A ferry service has operated here for around 500 years, albeit with a gap from the 1960s. It runs every 15 minutes, costs £2.50 single, and it only takes a few seconds.1

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

The Thames Path returns to dry land, and then follows one or other bank of the river for almost all of its route to Windsor.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

It was a gloriously sunny May bank holiday Monday, and a lot of people were out on the river…

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

…or buying ice cream ashore.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

There were lots of boats on the river, some with silly names.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Boats crusing along the river.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Dumsey Meadow is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and apparently the only undeveloped water meadow on the Thames downstream from Caversham.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Next comes Chertsey Bridge.

1783-85. Architect James Paine. The least altered of his Thames bridges. Five principal segmental arches centre widest, with flanking single flood arches in slight breaks. Drip over arches. Coursed and dressed rubble with band at base of ashlar parapet, cornice above. Cast-iron panels in parapet over spandrels and breakwaters (pointed in plan with round tops at springing of arches). Numerous tie rods. 1930s lamps.2

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

A brief stop at the Kingfisher pub, then onwards to the somewhat less pretty M3 motorway bridge.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Boatyards always seem a lot more picturesque than other types of industrial sites.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

A – well, what is it? – with the City of London arms.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

A typical view along this stretch of the Thames.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Old boats often seem prettier than newer ones.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

The lock keeper’s house at Penton Hook Lock.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Boats using sail power.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Plane, train and boats at Staines. Or Staines-upon-Thames as it now is. No-one mention Ali G.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

A type 4d coal duty post next to the railway.
Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

The Swanmaster statue, by Diana Thomson. Unveiled by the Mayor of Spelthorne on 4 November 2014.3

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

A replica of the London Stone which once marked the limits of the City of London’s rights on the river. The original is now in the Spelthorne Museum.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

The Thames Path crosses the river, and at the other end of the bridge there is another coal tax post, this time a type 2* with a correction plate

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Passing under the M25 orbital motorway at Runnymede Bridge; the path finally leaves everything which might in some very informal sense be seen as “London”.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

“…the memorable Charta, known as Magna Charter on account of the Latin Magna (great) and Charter (a Charter); this was the first of the famous Chartas and Gartas of the Realm and was invented by the Barons on a desert island and in the Thames called Ganymede”, as the book 1066 & All That put it.4

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

“Magna Charter was therefore the chief cause of Democracy in England, and thus a Good Thing for everyone (except the Common People)”.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Some queens.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

That’s good to know.
Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Mind the gap.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Albert Bridge, I wonder what the next bridge will be called?

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

The Thames Path diverts away from the river briefly at Datchet.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

And Windsor is reached. Had the Normans known where Heathrow airport was going to be, they might have rethought the location of the castle.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor