Thames Path National Trail
180 miles (288 km)
Thames Head, Glos, to Thames Barrier, London
A splendid riverside trail pioneered by David Sharp and the Rambler's Association. The path leads from the origin of the Thames in the foothills of the Cotswolds to the capital, passing through a wealth of fascinating riverside scenery and towns such as Oxford, Henley, and Windsor.

For much of it 160 mile length, the Thames Path closely follows the .. well, yes, the Thames River. The river itself has been called "liquid history", but quite apart from its historical associations - which are many - the Thames valley provides generally easy walking through water meadows and lovely riverside villages. Due to the challenges of obtaining rights of way, the path is forced to cross the river numerous times.
The River Thames at Wantage
The River Thames at Wantage
The first half of the path, as far as Oxford, wanders through quiet, open countryside, and you may find there are more cows keeping you company than there are fellow walkers. After Oxford, the villages get more numerous, and larger, until you reach the sprawl of Greater London.

The path spilts in two at London, with a branch on each bank of the river, and both branches carry on through the city as far as the Thames Barrier near Greenwich.


Highlights
The Cotswold countryside
Oxford - the historic "city of dreaming spires"
Henley-on-Thames - home to the world's premier regetta
Runnymede - where the Magna Carta was signed
Windsor - home to the royal residence at Windsor Castle
Hampton Court Palace




Maps
Ordnance Survey maps covering the Thames Path National Trail:

Landranger OS maps (Scale: 2cm = 1km / 1: 50000) The following maps will cover the entire Thames Path:
163 Cheltenham & Cirencester
164 Oxford
174 Newbury and Wantage
175 Reading and Windsor
176 West London
177 East London

Explorer OS maps (Scale: 4cm = 1 km / 1: 25000) - best for walking - These larger scale maps include more detail than the Landranger maps above, including field boundaries, which can be a very useful aide when navigating the trail. The following maps will cover the entire Thames Path:
160 Windsor, Weybridge and Bracknell
161 London South
162 Greenwich + Gravesend
168 Stroud, Tetbury and Malmesbury
169 Cirencester and Swindon
170 Abingdon, Wantage and Vale of White Horse
171 Chiltern Hills West
172 Chiltern Hills East
173 London North
180 Oxford

All OS maps are available at 10% off retail price, by special arrangement if you order through Britain Express. Both laminated waterproof and plain paper maps are available.

Guidebooks & Accommodation

The Thames Path - National Trail Guide by David Sharp. Aurum Press. �10.39

Thames : The River and The Path : Detailed Map by John Hale, Geoprojects, �3.80

The Thames Path National Trail Companion by National Trails Office �4.95

Stillwell's National Trail Companion by Tim Stillwell and Dean Conway, Stillwell Publications, �7.96 - lists accommodation on and near national trails throughout the UK and Ireland

The Rambler's Yearbook and Accommodation Guide published by the Rambler's Association - lists accommodation and walking resources.

Contacts
Managers of the Thames Path
National Trails Office
Countryside Access
Signal Court
Old Station Way
Eynsham
Oxford
OX29  4TL
Tel: 01865 810224
Email: national.trails@oxfordshire.gov.uk
Web: Thames Path

Ramblers Association
2nd Floor, Camelford House
87-90 Albert Embankment
London, SE1 7TW
Tel: 0171 339 8500
Fax: 0171 339 8501
Web: www.ramblers.org.uk/