From Wallingford initially the route of the Thames Path heading towards Goring does not go alongside the river - you have to follow the signs and go via several alleys and quiet streets for about half a mile before regaining the river bank. From the town side of Wallingford Bridge going up High Street soon turn left onto Thames Street - follow this until you reach the small church of
St. Leonard's Church. The Thames Path goes round to the left of the church, crosses a small bridge by some very old overhanging houses and then goes left to reach Lower Wharf and then the River Thames.
Now the Thames Path follows the river, passes some boat houses and then goes out into very open lush countryside and soon go under the a4130 road bridge - from this point until Goring there is no means of crossing The Thames - from time to time you pass what were obviously ferry crossings but these have long ceased to operate. The path is quite well surfaced for a while but then changes into what can be a quite muddy surface especially after heavy rain. The path eventually reaches a track which was once Papist Way ferry crossing - this was the site of the Little Stoke ferry crossing and here there is a limited amount of car parking available. From here the path goes through a nature reserve and is usually quite to very muddy - the vegetation either side of this beautiful walking area can be at least head high and there is plenty of wildlife to be seen if you are patient. The path then reaches a pair of beautiful railway bridges (Moulsford Bridge) which have been built immediately next to each other. The first bridge was originally built around 1839 by Brunel to carry two broad gauge railway tracks across The Thames and has four arches which were constructed with skewed brickwork - the tracks were subsequently changed to 4 standard gauge tracks. A second bridge was built in 1892 beside Brunel's bridge keeping to the same design and height although it only carries two tracks - also the brickwork was not formed in the same way and is just of uncut red brick - the two bridges are connected to each other with steel girders.
The Thames Path goes under the these bridges on a wooden and often quite wet and slippery walkway - then continues along a field edge between fences - i.e. you have to leave the River Thames at this point for a while. Follow the farm track to eventually reach the A329 at Offlands Farm - turn left and the sadly you have to walk along this road (there is a pavement) and downhill into Moulsford. At the far end of Moulsford turn left down Ferry Lane to reach Beetle Wedge public house - go through their outside seating area to reach the river and the old ferry crossing. Turn right soon back into open countryside and then arrive at Cleve Lock and Weir which has some picnic tables. The path continues to Streatley - just before reaching the town the path leaves the river and goes across fields to reach St Mary's Church and then a road. The Thames Path switches sides so turn left and cross the bridge into Goring now with views of the lock and weir. To reach Goring Railway Station and Bus Stop (for Wallingford) go up the high street and at the B4009 turn right to the station.
This route is very clearly marked and is a pleasant undulating path which goes through Hartslock Woods and then meets up with Hartslock Bridleway - the bridleway is in fact now surfaced and soon gently descends to eventually arrive at the top of Whitchurch. Turn right down into Whitchurch - nearly at the bottom of the hill the Thames Path does actually divert from the road and takes you past Whitchurch's excellent church. From here follow the signs to arrive at Whitchurch tollgate and tollbridge to arrive back at the River Thames at last. Cross the bridge - now in Pangbourne - then a few metres along go through a gate on the left into a small car park and continue on to rejoin the Thames Path actually beside the river. Although their is a lock at Whitchurch it's not possible to reach this on foot as access is via private land - you can just about get a glimpse of the lock from Whitchurch's bridge as well as a somewhat distant view of the weir. From Pangbourne The Thames goes off on one of it's frequent large curves with fields and open areas either side of the river to reach the quite large lock and weirs at Mapledurham. This is a nicely laid out area with some bench seats, a cafe and toilets and the lock-keeper has created nicely planted gardens - unfortunately the public are not allowed to cross over the lock gates and therefore the weir is not accessible from here. Although a path continues alongside The River Thames from the lock there is no way out at the far end so the Thames Path has to leave the river and goes across fields and then along Mapledurham Drive to a road junction at Purley Village. Go across the junction and continue uphill on New HIll road soon over the railway bridge then very soon turn left onto Hazel Road and follow this as it winds for some distance through housing. Look out for and turn right onto Skerritt Way - this ends by three houses in front of you however you can turn right up steps to reach the A329. Go left and soon the railway lines are right next to the road on the left - then just a little further along look out on the left for the marked path which goes between two buildings to reach and then cross the railway lines via a footbridge and subsequently re-join the river. With trees and often quite high undergrowth either side for a while the Thames Path is accommpanied by the set of railway lines on the right. The surface is in good condition for walking and often also used by cycles - the tow path stays next to river all the way to Caversham Bridge and then continues on to Reading Bridge.
One way walking the whole section which is around 10 miles can be easily achieved by using the railway - there are trains running frequently to and from Goring Railway station to Reading.
Is this a worth while part of the Thames Path to walk is of consideration - especially in respect of the part from Mapleduram Lock to Caversham. Obviously if the intention is to walk the whole length of the Path then this section cannot be ommitted - however if the idea is to simply enjoy a bit of walking along the river then perhaps there are better sections to chose. From where the Thames Path goes inland from Gatehampton Ferry Cottage the first part is through nice woodland but then around halfway it becomes a quiet road and you stay on a hard surface all the way down to Whitchurch-on-Thames. Then a few miles along and at Mapleduram Lock the Path then heads across a couple of fields and you are once again walking on road surfaces which is the case for quite for some distance.
For a continuation of this walk please see our Thames Path Walk to Hambleden topic - also of possible interest might be our website about walking the Kennet and Avon Canal which starts off from The River Thames just a little way past Reading Bridge.