The winter months are perfect for exploring Goring-on-Thames and the surrounding countryside.
Head south along the Thames Path from Goring to Pangbourne, returning on the train to a choice of cosy pubs, including The John Barleycorn, a dog-friendly inn with an open fire.
Red kites can be seen flying above the river ©Getty
Go for the gap
First referred to as Garinges in the Domesday Book of 1086, Goring is connected to neighbouring Streatley by a bridge over the River Thames. The two villages are situated within a striking geological feature known as the Goring Gap – here, the broad valley narrows, the Berkshire Hills to the west and the wooded Chilterns to the east.
Follow High Street west towards the bridge, bearing left to reach the riverside path. Turn left, crossing footbridges to reach a meadow, then continue on, passing beneath one of Brunel’s last remaining redbrick railway bridges.
The path heads away from the river to a T-junction. Turn right along another path. Once you reach some woodland, you may wish to divert left to the Hartslock Nature Reserve. From Hartslock there are excellent views of the River Thames and Goring Gap. The reserve is well known for monkey orchids and red kites.
Goring-on-Thames is the meeting point of two national trails: the Ridgeway and the Thames Path ©Alamy
Continue along the well-defined path, rising past a former WWII pillbox. After a dip, the trail meets a lane. Follow this to the B471, turning right into Whitchurch.
After passing The Greyhound, a welcoming pub complete with a log fire and low beams, go right to reach the church and follow the Thames Path through the graveyard to rejoin the road at the toll-bridge. Cross the wrought-iron bridge into Pangbourne – shortly after, turn right on a path to the A329 and the railway station.
Enjoy a drink at The Swan, or head to nearby Basildon Park, used for filming the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice and always suitably dressed for Christmas. For those with weary legs, trains run regularly back to Goring.
Click on the OS Map below for an interactive version f the route
Main image ©Alamy