After walking from Abingdon to Dorchester and staying the night in the White Hart, we travelled on towards Wallingford. From Dorchester, you need to walk past the Dyke Hills again back to Days Lock in order to rejoin the Thames Path. Quite soon the route veers away from the river onto the main road into Shillingford. You need to be careful crossing the road in Shillingford to ensure you are not on a blind corner. Once you return to the river, it’s a very idyllic spot to watch wildlife. We enjoyed watching some swans ruffling their neck feathers for each other and almost forming heart shapes with their necks.
While we’d walked along the river, we kept seeing a boat with ‘Le Boat’ on the side. One of us was convinced this was just one boat just going up and down the river. The majority thought there were more than one. At Benson Marina the majority were proved right when we discovered a whole flotilla. We also discovered the Waterfront Cafe which provided caffeine for the parents and big slices of cake for the children.
Just after Benson, we got a bit lost, which is quite hard to do when all you have to do is follow the river. We blame this on being distracted by the Saturday sports results and missing a gap in the hedge we were meant to turn into. Once we got our bearings again, we were soon walking down a widening river towards Wallingford. You can enjoy watching some of the Oxford University rowing teams practicing down here on a quieter stretch than the Isis in Oxford.
We couldn’t finish another stretch without finding a geocache and this one was probably the smallest we’ve found so far, tucked under a gate. There is a nice sense of achievement when you refuse to give up and perseverance is rewarded!
If you want to discover more about Agatha Christie, the Wallingford Museum is a good starting point to get your bearings but you need to go a bit further south to Winterbrook to find her regular haunts. By the time we reached Wallingford, we were pretty tired and found the bus back to Abingdon. Some of us snoozed.
This guest blog has been written by Lizzy Nesbitt, Principal of Emmanuel Christian School and Mum of two. If you’re interested in walking the Thames Path, you should also have a look at her other blog posts which covers Oxford to Godstow and Abingdon to Dorchester.