Our weekend challenge sees us following the Thames Path, which takes us through this beautiful area on the edge of the Cotswolds. Our route follows the river throughout, and we can appreciate its changing scenery and history as we walk. We camp along the way.
The growing Thames begins its working life in Lechlade, and it’s a fitting place to start our weekend challenge. We set off, crossing 18th-century Halfpenny Bridge (so-named for the toll that the old toll bridge) and head towards St John’s Lock, the highest navigable point of the river. Here we pass the statue of Old Father Thames, sending us on our way. We pass old buildings and bridges frequently, reminding us of the importance of the river in the region’s history. Lechlade used the river for trade and Cotswold stone from the quarries of nearby Taynton was shipped downriver to London to rebuild St Paul's Cathedral. From here, the path passes the villages of Radcot and Kelmscot as it twists through the open countryside of Oxfordshire to reach Tadpole Bridge, the river widening all the while. After replenishing our energy at our scenic lunch-stop, we set off from Tadpole Bridge. Although our route is predominantly flat, we’ll all be feeling the effort of this long day now! The scenery will take our minds off our aches as we follow our route through Shifford Lock Cut, a beautiful area surrounded by Chimney Meadows Nature Reserve. This reserve of water-meadows is home to a wide range of wildlife including otters, kingfishers and curlews. We leave the Thames as it passes under Newbridge, one of the oldest bridges on the Thames dating from the 13th century, and head for our campsite. Here we take a well-earned rest before supper and a relaxing evening socialising. Trek approx 16 miles
After a hearty breakfast, we re-join the Thames again at Newbridge and continue on to Northmoor Lock andbeyond to the village of Swinford, with its lovely bridge – one of the few remaining toll bridges on the Thames. The river twists around many bends – getting wider at every turn – before passing the picturesque remains of Godstow Abbey, which dates back to the 12th Century. Our final stretch leads from the open meadows along the riverside into the spectacular university city of Oxford – the first city along the river’s length and the end of our challenge. After some celebratory photos we transfer back to the campsite where we say our final farewells before heading home, possibly aching but definitely glowing in the satisfaction of completing the challenge. Trek approx 13.5 miles
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary, should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration - such as medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.
We have a Passenger Portal which will give you more details of the challenge itself. It also enables you to see any outstanding information we need, the countdown to your challenge departure, see your outstanding balance, make payments and update your contact details. You can access this via the following link - Passenger Portal Log in.
We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
If you are still to buy some kit don’t forget that Cotswold Outdoor, Snow and Rock, Cycle Surgery and Runners Need offer all Discover Adventure participants 15% off any purchases you make with them. Please ask us for the code if you do not have this already.