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Goring and Hartslock Nature Reserve

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Goring and Hartslock Nature Reserve
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 29 May 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Goring and Hartslock Nature Reserve walking guidestar1 Goring and Hartslock Nature Reserve walking guidestar1 Goring and Hartslock Nature Reserve walking guidestar1 Goring and Hartslock Nature Reserve walking guidestar1 Goring and Hartslock Nature Reserve walking guide
Oxfordshire, Goring Gap
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Goring and Hartslock Nature Reserve
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Goring and Hartslock Nature Reserve walking guide boot Goring and Hartslock Nature Reserve walking guide
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A 4 mile circular walk from Goring and Streatley rail station in Oxfordshire. The walk heads out along a quiet lane before cutting through Hartslock Nature Reserve and then returning along a beautiful stretch of the Thames Path. There’s plenty of wildlife along the way and this stretch of the river is also likely to be busy with leisure boats. We were lucky enough to be able to watch the GB men’s four rowing team in a pre-Olympics training session.

The walk is flat except for one steep climb and descent across the nature reserve. There are no stiles but several gates and kissing gates. The Thames Path passes through one long field which will probably be holding cattle so take care here with dogs. The Thames Path can get muddy in winter/after wet weather so wear suitable footwear at these times. There are toilets available at the station. Approximate time 1.5 to 2 hours.

The walk starts from the Goring and Streatley rail station. If you are coming by train the station is on the London Paddington-Reading-Oxford line. If you are coming by car there is a long-stay pay and display car park alongside the station. Approximate post code RG8 0EP.

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Walk Sections

Station to Track Fork
Station to Track Fork

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Leave the station, or station car park, via the exit on the Platform 4 side to reach Gatehampton Road. Cross over the road and turn right along the pavement.

Follow the road past a number of houses and then continue ahead as the road narrows to a track with hedgerows each side. Ignore the turns off to Gatehampton Manor/Farm to the right.

After some distance you will reach a fork in the track with a bridleway blue arrow marking the main track bending to the left and a smaller track forking right.

Track Fork to Hartslock Nature Reserve
Track Fork to Hartslock Nature Reserve

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Take the right hand fork. Follow the lane under an arch of trees and after just a short distance you will come to the entrance gate for Hartslock Nature Reserve on your right.

Hartslock Nature Reserve to Thames Path
Hartslock Nature Reserve to Thames Path

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Turn right to pass through the gate and then take the centre path heading steeply uphill and swinging slightly to the right. At the brow of the hill you may wish to take a moment to rest on the bench and enjoy the views ahead down to the River Thames.

Hartslock Nature Reserve is an 11 acre south facing chalk down habitat renowned for its monkey orchids. The lack of nutrients in the thin soil allow specialised plants such as orchids to thrive without competition from more vigorous ones. The grassland is surrounded by ancient hedges and mixed yew woodland. Contrary to most people’s first guess, the name does not derive from a male deer, the Hart. It is actually named after an old lock on the river which sat just below the woods and which, back in the early 1500s, was owned by the Harts, a local family of note.

When you’ve finished enjoying the view continue down the opposite side of the hill towards the river – go with care as the hill is steep and the chalk can be slippery when wet. Pass through the gate and continue for a few more paces to reach a T-junction with a level path. Turn right along the path.

Follow the path between trees and then continue between fenced paddocks. Look out for a wooden signpost to the left marking the Thames Path with an acorn symbol.

Thames Path to Railway Bridge
Thames Path to Railway Bridge

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Turn left here on the small path between fenced paddocks. Cross over a small footbridge and then as you reach the Thames ahead, keep right on the Thames Path.

Follow the path with the river running to your left. Pass through three metal gates to reach the brick arches of the railway running overhead.

The brick railway bridge was designed during the 1830’s by Isambard Brunel, one of the greatest engineers of all time.

Railway Bridge to Lock
Railway Bridge to Lock

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Pass under the railway arches and continue ahead through a metal gate. Go through the next metal gate to enter a field which will probably be holding cattle (so take care with dogs). Follow the obvious path through the long field with the river still over to the left. Leave the field at the far end via a green kissing gate.

Follow the Thames Path for some distance further passing over a series of wooden footbridges.

Enjoy the views of the beautiful (and very expensive!) properties on both river banks – Streatley in Berkshire on the left and Goring in Oxfordshire on the right. The area has always been popular with the rich and famous. George Michael owns a house alongside the river. Oscar Wilde lived here in 1893 and used the village name for one of his characters - Lord Goring.

Continue as the path becomes a raised tarmac walkway alongside the Thames. A little further along you will come to Goring Lock ahead with the road bridge running overhead.

Lock to End
Lock to End

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Immediately before you reach the road bridge overhead, turn right along the footpath and continue past Goring Mill on the right. Continue straight ahead following the High Street passing a range of independent shops, pubs and restaurants. Cross over the road to join the pavement on the left of the road to pass over the railway.

After crossing the railway turn right at the T-junction and follow the pavement until you reach the station on the right.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


2 responses to "Goring and Hartslock Nature Reserve"

Lovely walk though really muddy and slippery on the Thames path. Will do the walk again.

By michaelj560 on 2016-01-02 21:29:48

Rather than going to the carpark at the station, use the one in town, it's cheaper and you'll walk past it anyway so it makes no difference to the walk.

By kNevik on 2016-10-02 16:48:39

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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