My first walk of 2015, on New Year‘s Day, was a circular route from Pangbourne with my parents. It got off to an amusing start when our train was delayed just outside Reading due to swans on the line.


We did eventually reach Pangbourne. After spending a few minutes looking for the promised teashop (in the walk book) we confirmed that, unsurprisingly, it had closed down, and its replacement was closed due to the bank holiday. So we started on the walk.

Railway bridge.
1/30 at f8, 23mm, ISO200

By the Thames

The first part of this walk follows the Thames Path from the bridge at Pangbourne. Coincidentally, we had walked this section (as the last bit of a Reading to Pangbourne walk) exactly five years previously. This time it was substantially less sunny.

After a muddy stretch by the bridge, we walked by riverside meadows for quite some distance. The main landscape feature was a preponderance of ‘no fishing’ signs.

Which said ‘no mooring’ on the reverse. In Futura, for some reason.
1/50 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°29′17″N 1°4′34″W
And were sometimes a little lacking in the sign department.
1/30 at f16, 23mm, ISO200 51°29′21″N 1°4′25″W
There were other types of sign as well.
1/50 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°29′22″N 1°4′21″W
But they always returned to the classics.
1/50 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°29′22″N 1°4′20″W
Field gap.
1/50 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°29′30″N 1°3′28″W
Turf chewed away by the river.
1/40 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°29′25″N 1°2′47″W
Dead-end pylon. (Its opposite number stands on the other bank.)
1/40 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°29′21″N 1°2′39″W


After sitting at Mapledurham Lock to eat our lunch we left the river, heading toward Purley. (Which in this case is an area on the outskirts of Reading, not the one near Croydon.)

Looks like an original weekend house on Mapledurham Drive.
1/15 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 51°28′58″N 1°2′38″W
Another, boarded up and slightly overgrown.
1/30 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°28′56″N 1°2′39″W
Path beside railway. (Great Western Railway Cos Boundary 1890.)
1/30 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200 51°28′58″N 1°3′20″W
And the railway itself. They are supposed to be putting up electric cables soon.
1/20 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°29′0″N 1°3′29″W

Sulham Woods

We followed paths through various woods in a circuitous route toward Pangbourne.

Tree with fungus.
1/25 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°28′41″N 1°3′48″W

One area had strange, deep craters in the wood. (Probably about three metres deep and twenty in diameter.) Bomb craters?

View of tree roots from lower in the crater.
1/30 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 51°28′34″N 1°3′49″W
Sideways tree.
1/50 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 51°28′30″N 1°3′46″W
Cavernous roots.
1/30 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO400 51°28′0″N 1°3′33″W
Reflection in stream.
1/30 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO400 51°27′55″N 1°3′34″W

At this point we got a bit lost. After walking along a lane for a short distance, the walk description said to take a path from the end of a car park. It neglected to mention, and we didn’t notice, that there were two car parks on opposite sides of the road. We started off from the wrong one, passing some nice ponds.

Reflection in one pond.
1/40 at f4, 23mm, ISO400 51°27′45″N 1°3′57″W
Another one.
1/40 at f4, 23mm, ISO400 51°27′52″N 1°4′1″W

After going the wrong way for about a mile, we eventually got back onto the right track.

It’s this way!
1/15 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO400 51°28′5″N 1°4′23″W

Later, somebody had amassed a small collection of pillboxes, possibly for keeping animals in.

View out.
1/15 at f4, 23mm, ISO800 51°28′6″N 1°4′52″W
Two of the pillboxes.
1/15 at f4, 23mm, ISO400 51°28′5″N 1°4′53″W
Large tree.
1/40 at f4, 23mm, ISO400 51°28′5″N 1°4′54″W

River Pang

We crossed the River Pang on Mill Lane (by the ex-mill), walked along the road a bit, then continued into Pangbourne on the riverside path.

Farm buildings.
1/30 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO400 51°28′12″N 1°5′13″W
Fenced area by river on the common.
1/15 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO400 51°28′40″N 1°5′2″W

Pangbourne at night

Rather than rushing to catch a train, we had a short walk around Pangbourne, across the toll bridge over the Thames and back.

1/15 at f4, 23mm, ISO1600 51°29′12″N 1°5′6″W
Road leading up to bridge.
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Railway bridge.
1/15 at f4, 23mm, ISO1600 51°29′4″N 1°5′9″W
Lamborghini showroom. Pangbourne has all your car needs covered; there’s Bentley and Aston Martin too.
1/30 at f4, 23mm, ISO1600 51°29′3″N 1°5′17″W
Railway bridge by station.
1/15 at f4, 23mm, ISO1600 51°29′6″N 1°5′19″W

We got some snacks from the Co-op and caught the train back. This time the journey wasn’t impeded by swans!

By the way, Dad posted photos of the same walk.

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.