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The Ridgeway – Goring to Didcot

Distance: 20km

Time: 5 hours

Difficulty: Easy

It was the day after boxing day and I awoke, thinking, I need to walk off the excess of the last two days. I grabbed my daysack and headed to the train station for the short journey to Goring On Thames.

Goring in itself is a lovely town, nestled in the Oxfordshire countryside with the river Thames flowing through the heart of it. The Thames walk also passes here, but that’s a walk for another day.

Today was a unusually busy day in Goring. One of it’s famous residents, George Micheal, had passed away unexpectably a few days previously. The town was buzzing with media, broadcasting the story and fans coming to lay flowers and pay their last respects. For me, today was about keeping my head clear and taking in the lovely old buildings, the river and the hills.

After leaving the station, I headed through the town centre and onwards to Streatley. Here, lies a crossroads with The Bull public house immediately in front of you. Taking the road that carried on passed the pub and heading up Streatley Hill, here you are walking on the road, there is no footpath, so take care. Streatley Hill is the biggest climb on this relatively flat walk. 10 minutes and I was at the car park at the top, legs pumped, heart beating faster and suitably warmed up. From here the footpath heads across Goring and Streatley Golf Club. There are places where you have to stop and wait and bells to ring as you cross the fairways. Take extreme care as a golf ball hitting you will certainly ruin your day. Remember if you hear the shout “four” then duck!

After navigating my way across the golf course, the path leads onto a quiet country lane for approximately 2km before a signpost appears at a fork in the road. Heading right leads me off-road and gently uphill, the path meanders through the countryside for a good 8km before reaching the farm, that was my que to turn right and head towards the village of Upton.

Once again there was tarmac under foot, which made for easy walking of the 3km to Upton. Once in Upton, I passed another pub, The George & Dragon, before heading through the village and picking up the old railway line embankment that would take me back into Didcot. With this now being the middle of the afternoon, there were many people out and about, walking their dogs and children cycling their new bikes that Santa had brought them. Everyone with smiles on their faces and wishing me a good afternoon as I walked by.

All too soon, I was back in Didcot and home. Time to get the fire going and sit and reflect on what had been a most enjoyable day.

Enjoy the walking and stay safe.

Alister

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