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The five best Thames walks

Best for… A bit of a climb

Start/end point: Dorchester

Distance: 4km / 2½ miles to 14.5km / 9 miles


Wittenham Clumps, Oxfordshire’s “twin peaks”, rise 120m (394ft) and 110m (361ft), providing a fine vantage over a lovely stretch of river. Start in winsome Dorchester – aka the Roman town of Doric – where the little Thame runs into the Thames; a 2½ miles loop combines the medieval village, its 12th-century abbey and Clumps views. Tacking on another 1.9 miles from Wittenham Bridge offers a yomp up the beech-wigged Clumps themselves, for a good lookout and evidence of Iron Age fortifications. 

Finally, if you’re feeling fit, add on a third 5-mile circuit, via Long Wittenham. Nip into Pendon Museum, a recreation of 1930s rural life in miniature, then follow a fine curve of the Thames, back to the start.  

Highlight: The plaque to the ‘“poem tree” – Joseph Tubb carved a poem about this landscape into a beech atop the Clumps in 1844, but it collapsed in 2012. 

Where to stay: Atmospheric Fyfield Manor (07779 722202), parts of which date back 800 years, has B&B doubles from £120pn.

Characterful pub: Try the Camra-award-winning Plough Inn in Long Wittenham or Dorchester’s 16th-century White Hart.

Cracking restaurant: Five Little Pigs is a smart, low-waste, well-priced and delicious bistro in nearby Wallingford.

Info: The X40 bus links Oxford and Reading via Wallingford and Dorchester.

2. Henley & Hambleden