Explore Goring : enjoy magnificent views of the River Thames and rare chalk grassland species. Starting in Goring, this 8 km circular walk takes in the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust’s (BBOWT) Hartslock nature reserve and a section of the Thames Path
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) From Goring & Streatley railway station, cross the road bridge over the railway and follow the main road into Goring. Bear left just before the bridge over the Thames, past Goring Mill to reach the riverside. Turn left and follow the Thames Path beside the river and across the pasture to Little Meadow Nature Reserve.
(1) Continue on the Thames Path, passing under Brunel’s railway bridge to the cottage (formerly Gatehampton Ferryman’s cottage). Turn left, over the bridge, between the horse paddocks, then turn right on to the bridleway.
(2) After 500 metres, just after entering Lower Hartslock Wood, turn left onto the footpath, up a short, steep slope to enter Hartlock Nature Reserve. Follow the fence up the slope, before pausing at the summit to admire the view across Goring Gap. Continue down the slope and turn right on leaving the reserve. Follow the path up to the road and turn left.
(3) After 400 metres, turn right at the derelict farm buildings onto the bridleway. Enter Great Chalk Wood and bear right. Follow the path almost to the exit by Stapnall’s Farm, then turn left on to another bridleway that gently descends past the hazel coppice on the right. After 400 metres, turn left onto the footpath that gently climbs through mixed beech and spruce. Follow this path through the wood, ignoring minor paths to the left.
(4) Leave the wood and follow the footpath around the field margin with the mature blackthorn hedge on your right; uphill, then bearing left, past the cemetery.
(5) Head downhill and turn right, go across the playing field onto Whitehills Green. Bear left and then right for Reading Road. Head down the hill and turn left for Goring & Streatley railway station or right to the village. (D/A)
D/A : km 0 - alt. 51m - Goring & Streatley railway station
1 : km 2.74 - alt. 42m - Brunel’s railway bridge
2 : km 3.87 - alt. 48m - Lower Hartslock Wood
3 : km 5.23 - alt. 126m - Derelict farm buildings
4 : km 7.08 - alt. 84m - Field
5 : km 8.01 - alt. 65m - Playing field
D/A : km 8.76 - alt. 51m - Goring & Streatley railway station
Start : Goring & Streatley railway station. Postcode: RG8 0EP Grid ref: SU 602 806
By bus: Check www.traveline.info for information about local buses
By train: The route starts at Goring & Streatley railway station. Check www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times
By car: There are pay & display car parks at Goring & Streatley railway station and in Goring centre
By bike: There is cycle storage at Goring & Streatley railway station
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Hartslock Nature Reserve
This small, steep remnant of chalk grassland, untouched by fertiliser and pesticides, is the scenic and wildlife highlight of the walk. The far-reaching views over the River Thames and Goring Gap are worth the climb up the hill.
In spring, the ground erupts with hundreds of orchid spikes breaking through the turf. Finest among the host of different species is the rare monkey orchid that only grows in two other places in the UK.
Later, wild marjoram carpets the ground in mauve and scents the summer air that is now filled with butterflies such as brown argus, chalk hill blue and common blue. Scrubby field margins provide shelter from winds, keeping the ground warm to benefit insects such as rufous and stripe-winged grasshoppers.
In summer, swallows skim the grassland whilst red kites soar overhead. Sheep graze the grass after the main flowering season, continuing the traditional downland management once commonplace in the area. This stops scrub and coarser grasses from dominating the grassland and encourages the wildflowers to bloom here each year.
Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
BBOWT relies on the support of our members to help us look after local wildlife. By joining BBOWT you can help to secure the future of special landscapes like Hartslock.
Global average : 4/5
Number of opinions : 1
Description quality : 4/5
Routemap quality : 3/5
Walk interest : 5/5
Global average : 4 / 5
Date of walk
Description quality : Good
Easiness to follow the route : Average
Walk interest : Very good
Tracks through Great Chalk Wood Easily missed, Otherwise very good.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.