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Pangbourne, Mapledurham and The Thames Walk

Trail : BRKSTR0003
Activity : Walk
Area : The River Thames and Reading
Type(s) : Country Escape, Tea Shop, Family
Author : D Scott
Distance : 5.7 miles / 9.1 km
Ascent : 66 feet / 20 metres
Location : SU634765 / RG8 7AN

Trail Summary

A delightful walk alongside the River Thames between Pangbourne and Mapledurham Lock, returning through fields, meadows and beside the River Pang. There are plenty of opportunities for refreshment in Pangbourne and also in the summer at Mapledurham Lock.

Trail Map

Route Map

 Trail Profile

Route Map

Trail Details

Leave the Village Hall Car Park and turn right down Station Road to the mini roundabout. Turn left down the High Street and left again at the next mini roundabout towards Whitchurch (B471). Follow the road underneath the railway line and round a corner, to the toll bridge across the Thames - linking Pangbourne with Whitchurch in Oxfordshire. At the toll booth, turn right to join the Thames Path.

[1] Follow the Thames Path through Pangbourne Meadow. There is likely to be much activity here on a nice day and many boats moored on the bank. However, things get considerably quieter as you pass through a kissing gate and continue east on the Thames Path. Besides the river, there are also attractice views both south over fields and north to the Chiltern Hills in Oxfordshire.

[2] As the Thames starts to bend to the south look for Hardwick House on the opposite (Oxfordshire) side of the river. This is reputed to be the inspiration for Toad Hall in The Wind In The Willows. The path continues towards Mapledurham Lock, with Mapledurham church just visible through the trees.

[3] Mapledurham Lock is very picturesque and in summer often sells refreshments. The trail (and the Thames Path) continues from the far end of the lock through a gate, with the path leading away from the river to another gate. Go through this gate to join a track (Mapledurham Drive), which becomes a road. Follow this to meet another road (Purley Village) and turn right, leaving the Thames Path. Follow Purley Village road until it bends sharpley to the left and at this point, take the bridleway to the right.

[4] Follow the track behind houses. The track becomes a path and leads up towards the railway line. Cross a track leading to a bridge over the railway and continue with allotments on your right. Continue alongside the railway and cross another road (which again leads to a bridge over the railway) following the path down beside the railway embankment. Where the path meets the next track at a kissing gate, turn left through a tunnel under the railway, follow the track round to the right and then take the footpath off to the left, on the edge of fields. Follow this alongside a small stream to meet the A329 road on the edge of Pangbourne.

[5] Cross over the A329 and take the lane almost directly oppostite (Sulham Lane), following it for just over a third of a mile. Where the road bends ot the right, take the footpath off to the left. Head across the field, pass through a line of trees and keep right towards a small bridge. Cross this and two further bridges ot meet a hedge. Turn left on the path beside the hedge and follow this for a quarter of a mile, crossing a stile half way, to meet the River Pang.

[6] Turn right and follow the path alongside the river and willow trees. After 0.1 miles, where the river turns sharply left, the footpath leaves the river bank to head back towards Pangbourne. Follow the pat through a gate and down a tree lined avenue to meet a road (The Moors). Follow the road to meet t he A329 in the centre of Pangbourne. Turn left down the High Street and then right at the mini roundabout into Station Road and the end of the walk.

[Alternative] At point 5 the walk can be shortened by returning to Pangbourne centre along the A329.

Get the Maps


Whitchurch toll bridge
Mapledurham Lock
East towards Mapledurham
River Thames above Mapledurham

Trail Location

Route Map

Location Details
The trail starts from the Village Hall Car Park on Station Road (A329) in Pangbourne. Alternative parking is available off Whitchurch Road (B471) including free parking at Recreation Ground Car Park. If arriving by train, turn right out of the station to join Station Road and join the trail at the Village Hall Car Park.


Pangbourne has one of only two private toll bridges remaining across the Thames, linking the village to Whitchurch in Oxfordshire. Originally this Thames crossing would have been by ferry, with the first bridge being built in 1792. The current bridge dates back to 1901. Kenneth Grahame, the author of The Wind In The Willows lived in Pangbourne before his death in 1932 and the landscape along the Thames is believed to have provided the inspiration for the illustrations by E.H. Shepherd.

Mapledurham Lock

Mapledurham Lock spans the Thames north of Purley-on-Thames in Berkshire. The current lock and weir date back to 1908, but there has been a lock on this site since 1777. The weir provides the water to drive Mapledurham Watermill, which dates from the 15th century and is still in use today. Whilst the watermill is open to visitors at weekends in the summer months, it is not possible to cross the Thames here to reach it without a boat, as access is not possible across the weir. Mapledurham Watermill is part of the Mapledurham Estate which is accessed from Mapledurham on the Oxfordshire side of the river.

Further Reading

Pangbourne by Pangbourne-on-Thames.com
Thames Path by Natural England
Mapledurham Estate by Mapledurham Estate
Mapledurham Watermill by Mapledurham Estate

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