Our walk today involved trains courtesy of First Great Western. Two trains were needed to get to the start, with a 30 minute wait on Reading station. Reading Station has been transformed over recent weeks (years?) and is now gleaming with sleek roofs, clean concrete platforms. Many of the platforms have been made longer and divided into “A” and “B” halves. Reading is the 9th busiest station in the UK outside of London. Today many of the expected passengers would be heading to Royal Ascot and temporary queuing barriers were being erected as we arrived.
Our second train ride brought us to the small town/village of Cholsey about a mile from the Thames Path. This gave us the opportunity to find a few caches on the way back to the river. The first, part of the Side Tracked (railway station based) series, was close to Cholsey station. The previous couple of cachers hadn’t been able to find it, and it was only a little glint of sunlight on the green bison that gave the location to us. Very well hidden.
As we left the cache a group of 5 ladies were approaching Cholsey station dressed in their finery. No doubt on route to Royal Ascot !
Our next was close to a bus stop we had used on our previous expedition. The location was quite exposed, up a slight bank and apparently in/under a large bush. We couldn’t find it. In the end we gave up as the level of prying eyes was increasing and of course we had some way still to go.
Our next cache, this time on the Thames Path, also took some searching. Hidden in a bush/fallen tree we looked long and hard, and then we practically stood on it! This was going to be a long day!
The situation didn’t improve yards further down the path, as the next cache was in a tree, but to get there a forest of stinging nettles stood in our way. We declined.
Our route took us under the railway line we had travelled on earlier. Here the Isambard Kingdom Brunel brick built bridge was being renovated and we were able to dodge through the building works and use a temporary footpath to arrive at the A329. Our route was away from the river for about a mile through the village of Moulsford. This meant our next few caches were definitely urban – a cunningly concealed Church micro, a nano under a seat, and another cache we could not find under a bush in a car park. (We really were struggling today).
Our arrival back at the Thames was by the pub called “Beetle and Wedge”. The unusual name refers to a beetle, an old term for a hammer used with a wedge to split wood.
Our next cache, another tricky find (why is it that some days caches are found within seconds, whilst other days finds take ages and ages?), was named after the pub, but many yards from it.
We approached Goring via a large open pasture field – a pleasant change from the tarmac of Moulsford – avoiding a multitude of geese and ducks as we went.
Part way towards Goring we left Oxfordshire and walked about a mile in Berkshire. Goring (Oxfordshire) is part of a ‘twin’ settlement with Streatley (Berkshire) and our last cache of the day (a Church micro) was our first on this walk in Berkshire.
As we crossed the bridge from Streatley (Berkshire) to Goring (Oxfordshire) we were reminded that the Thames Path shares the pavement with another great long distance path, the Ridgeway. We walked the Ridgeway 4 years ago, and one of Britain’s oldest geocaches is towards to the Eastern end of the Ridgeway. A great excuse to walk that trail !
Thames Path statistics : Route length : 5.35 miles Total distance walked : 83.9 miles
Caches found : 6 Total caches found : 163
Here are some of the caches we did find !