Find out about the 15 National Trails providing over 4000km of well-managed paths which offer walking, riding and cycling experiences through some of the finest countryside in England and Wales, officially designated by Natural England (formerly the Countryside Agency).
Location: Southern/central England.
Length:: 294km (184 miles).
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 Officer's favourite part: Lechlade to Newbridge for the remoteness of having the river almost to one's 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 (½ 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 1-84513-266-1; 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: Managers of The Thames Path, National Trails Office, Countryside Access, Signal Court, Old Station Way, Eynsham, Oxford OX29 4TL. Telephone: 00 44 (0) 1865 810224. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org