Goring and Streatley sit on opposite sides of the River Thames as it carves its way through the Chiltern Hills.
What to see
For visitors, all eyes are on the river, where the Berkshire village of Streatley meets the larger village of Goring-on-Thames on the Oxfordshire side.
Boats in Goring lock, by Andy Quinn.
The Goring Gap is renowned for its wide array of wildlife, found within a rich tapestry of woodland, riverside pathways, rolling hills and wildflower fields. This is a spot for lingering, both figuratively drinking in the scenery and literally drinking in the riverside pubs. The Coppa Club at the Swan at Streatleyis handily placed for this purpose, right beside the water.
Goring itself has a small high street with a few shops and restaurants, as well as a Norman church, built in the early 12th century. In July, the Goring Gap Boat Club organises a regatta that includes around 600 rowers competing in races.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s railway bridge, by Bernard Novell
There are lots of walks along the Thames Path and up into the surrounding hills. For fabulous views over the River Thames and the iconic brick railway bridge that spans it (designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel during the 1830s), visit the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust’s Hartslock Nature Reserve.
Here, orchids, red kites and butterflies abound on pretty chalk downland. To get there, park in Goring and walk 1.5 miles along the Thames Path, or walk just 1 mile from the railway station.
From the Streatley side of the river, look for signs for The Thames Path behind The Swan. Take a half-mile stroll from Goring Lock to the picnic garden at Cleeve Lock, past a series of weirs and islands.
Orchids and Sunset at Hartslock Nature Reserve SSSI, showing the River Thames, copyright Dave Olinski
Basildon Park. Familiar to many from the BBC’s popular adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Basildon Park is the very model of a dignified Georgian mansion in expansive parkland. Restored in the mid-1950s, it houses fine paintings, fabrics and furniture.
Beale Park Wildlife Park and Gardens – 3 miles away
Beale Park Wildlife Park and Gardens. Adventure, animals, play and activities make this a firm favourite with young visitors. Enjoy all this among gardens and lakes on the banks of the River Thames.
Pangbourne – 5 miles away
Pangbourne‘s links with the idyllic world of The Wind in the Willows are easy to see. Its writer, Kenneth Grahame, lived in the village, while the river inspired E.H. Shepard’s much-loved illustrations. The Thames Path climbs up through the old streets of the town to the countryside beyond.
Mapledurham – 7 miles away
Mapledurhamis a small, picturesque village and country estate. The Elizabethan house has been handed down through the Eyston family and is thought to have inspired illustrations of Toad Hall. The 15th-century watermill is the only mill on the Thames that is still producing high-quality, stone-ground flour.
Wallingford – 7 miles away
Wallingford grew up in the 9th century on a wide stretch of the River Thames. Its layout has changed little since then and it still boasts the remains of an 11th-century castle. The old Corn Exchange, antique shops and heritage trainline give it an unhurried air.
Wallingford Museum – 7 miles away
Wallingford Museum features The Wallingford Story, which takes a walk along Wallingford’s timeline from the Romans and Saxons to the Civil War. There is also a miniature recreation of Wallingford’s huge royal castle.
Getting here by train
Goring and Streatley are about 50 minutes from London. The Great Western Railway runs services from London Paddington.
A selection of some of the best walks in the Chilterns, from short easy strolls to all day walks, and all through beautiful scenery. The best way to shake off the cobwebs, enjoy tranquil surroundings and burn a few calories!
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