This popular route leads you on an escape from the city of London, following the Thames out into the countryside, passing through parks at Richmond and Hampton Court.
2500-acre Richmond Park is home to a number of deer as well as a variety of rare species including fungi, birds, beetles, bats, grasses and wildflowers. Even though it’s close to central London it is an important habitat for wildlife and is a National Nature Reserve. It’s London's largest Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation.
The route travels past Thorpe Park, for those wanting to test their nerve on the rides, and then onto Staines. After Staines there's a climb up Coopers Hill. If you leave your bike in the enclosure at the RAF War Memorial you can climb the tower for a view of Runnymeade, where the Magna Carta was signed.
Next, you cycle on to Windsor and Eton, passing Eton Dorney where the route becomes traffic-free paths as you go through the centres of Maidenhead and Reading. Here Route 4 carries on west and Route 5 turns north.
The Chiltern Hills mark the most challenging section of the route and also one of the most impressive. You’ll be rewarded for your hard work with rolling green English countryside. This lovely stretch of countryside is a joy to cycle through.
Travelling along quiet country roads you descend into the clay Vale of the White Horse, whose name comes from the oldest chalk figure in Britain, which dates back to around 1000 BC. From here you travel onto Dicot, Abingdon and then into Oxford.
When you arrive in Oxford you’ll be able to explore this elegant city and admire its elegant buildings. The poet Matthew Arnold called Oxford the "City of Dreaming Spires", an apt term for this beautiful city. Oxford is known for being the home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world.
The Thames Valley route is a lovely way to explore some of the nicest landscapes in southern England. It takes you from busy, exciting London to the famous university city of Oxford through rolling green hills and parks.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.
To make sure everyone gets the most out of their time by the water, please ensure you follow the Towpath Code.