Location: Southern/central England.
Length: 184 miles (294 km).
Average number of days to complete: 14 days.
Users: 100% for walkers; short sections for cyclists.
Start point: The Source of the Thames 3 km (2miles) north west of Kemble.
Finish point: The Thames Barrier, Woolwich, London.
Landscape: Follows the River Thames from its source in the Cotswolds through peaceful water meadows, rural villages, historic towns and cities, including several miles through London, to the Thames Barrier near Greenwich.
Highlights: The River Thames from a trickle to a broad expanse of water in London. Swans, ducks, grebes and kingfishers. Wetland flowers, especially historic North Meadow at Cricklade, home to vast numbers of the rare snakeshead fritillary at the end of April. Riverside pubs. Oxford and several market towns. The South Bank in London with a range of attractions and views of the City, Royal castles and palaces.
Famous Associations: William Morris (Arts and Craft Movement), Poet Shelley and his wife Mary, Lewis Carroll (author of Alice in Wonderland), Jerome K Jerome (author of Three Men in a Boat), Kenneth Grahame (author of Wind in the Willows), Royal Family (-who have lived in the Royal Palaces which line the Thames from Windsor into London).
Trail Officers favourite part: Lechlade to Newbridge for the remoteness of having the river almost to one self, interspersed with a few delightful rural pubs. And as a contrast, Lambeth Bridge to Canary Wharf in London to experience a huge variety and the best of London.
Nearest towns: Cricklade, Lechlade, Oxford, Abingdon, Wallingford, Pangbourne, Reading, Henley, Marlow, Maidenhead, Windsor, Staines and London are all on the path.
Access: Kemble (1 km (˝ a mile) from the Trail) is 75 minutes from London Paddington. Swindon is 50 minutes form London Paddington and 1 hour from Bristol by train. Buses go from Swindon regularly to various places along the route. Oxford is 50 minutes from London Paddington by train and the line services many stations along the Trail.
Information available: National Trail Guide by David Sharp Aurum Press ISBN 1-85410-406-3; Public Transport leaflet and a Guide to facilities and accommodation available from the National Trail Officer. Online information is available on accommodation and the wide range of facilities servicing the Trail managed by the National Trail Officer.
Contact for all information and advice: Jos Joslin, Cultural Services, Holton, Oxford, OX33 1QQ.
Telephone: 00 44 (0) 1865 810224.
For places to stay near this National Trail click here
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Previous destinations of the month:
Starry Starry Night, Look You – Dark Skies Tourism, South Wales | Mills and Hills in Central Lancashire, Lancashire | Get Fit on the North York Moors, North Yorkshire | A West Country Christmas – Dorset in December, Dorset | Nottinghamshire – Rural and Urban, Nottinghamshire | The Test Valley, Hampshire | Ashdown Forest, Sussex | The Rugged Northumberland Coast , Northumberland | The Resorts of North Devon, Devon | The Queen's London, London | Denbighshire , North Wales | York and Its Surrounds, North Yorkshire | The High Weald of Kent, Kent | Leisure, Luxury and Retail Heaven in Leeds , West Yorkshire | Rejuvenate Yourself in Rejuvenated Belfast , Belfast | Seasonal Fun in Brum, West Midlands | Autumn in the Southern Chilterns, Buckinghamshire | Cheshire Peaks and Plains, Cheshire | Essex’s Colne Valley, Essex | Cardigan Bay, West Wales | South Wales Valleys, South Wales | Highland Perthshire, Perthshire | South Downs National Park, Sussex | Royal Wedding London, London | Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire | The Oxfordshire Cotswolds, Oxfordshire | Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire | Edinburgh at Christmas, Edinburgh and the Lothians | Marvellous Manchester, Greater Manchester | The National Forest, Derbyshire | East Lothian, Edinburgh and the Lothians | Regency Brighton and Hove, Sussex | Isle of Purbeck, Dorset | The Somerset Levels, Somerset | Llandudno, North Wales | Hereford, Herefordshire | Cheltenham, Gloucestershire | Bristol, the Great West City, Bristol | Weardale, County Durham | Festive London, London | Islay, Isle of Islay | Blackpool and the Lancashire Coast, Lancashire | The Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire | Land of the Prince Bishops, County Durham | The North Cornwall Coast, Cornwall | Torbay, Devon | Dumfries & Galloway, Dumfries and Galloway | West Highland Way, Argyll | Caithness and Sutherland, Highlands | Harrogate & its Surrounds, North Yorkshire | Sheffield, South Yorkshire