Whilst most of the time the official Thames Path route is both the obvious and the best route, there are occasions when it’s worth detouring away: not necessarily to save miles but to enjoy something else en-route. In any case, it’s sometimes good to have a break from the river and enjoy a change of scene. On this page, we feature some of the best detours.
- Wittenham Clumps +1.8 miles
Unsurprisingly the Thames Path is not a particularly hilly walk. Some walkers may be itching to test those thigh muscles. This detour offers a circular walk, climbing a pair of hills of around 400 feet with glorious views across Oxfordshire. An added highlight is that the hills are ancient bronze age settlements. The detour starts near Days Lock close to Dorchester on Thames.
- Wallingford to Goring via The Ridgeway +0.1 miles
Thames Path walkers are often disappointed by the diversion away from the river and subsequent 1 mile road walk through Moulsford. This can be avoided by crossing the river at Nosworthy Way, just past Wallingford, and following the Ridgeway into Goring. This is a better route, passing a lonely church in Mongewell and the villages of North and South Stoke.
- Mapledurham House +0.4 miles
The Thames Path turns away from the river just past Mapledurham Lock and heads into Purley. Which is a shame because the best views of Mapledurham House are missed. This detour provides an opportunity to see the house immediately across the river as well as passing the only tea shop in Purley
- Windsor, the Great Park, and the Runnymede memorials +0.2 miles
Instead of following the river through the Home Park and past Datchet (which includes a 0.5 mile road walk), the detour takes you through Windsor's town centre allowing you to get up close to the castle as well as the Guildhall. The detour then follows the Long Walk starting at the private entrance to the Castle all the way to the statue of George III on horseback. From here the detour turns away from the Great Park, through woodland and past the JFK Memorial and the Magna Carta monument. An optional extra is to visit the Air Force Memorial.
- Bushy Park -1.3 miles
Not so much a detour as a short cut, this route actually saves you some distance. Instead of following the river from Hampton Court you can walk past the Palace and into Bushy Park where, if you are lucky, you may see some deer. Bushy Park will then lead you to Hampton Wick where you can rejoin the rest of the Thames Path walkers who may be wondering why you re looking so fresh!