The Thames Path
The Thames Path path runs 294km (184 miles) along the River Thames, from its source near Kemble, Gloucestershire, to the Thames barrier in Woolwich, London. On its way, the trail passes through many typical English villages, historic towns and cities, and rural areas rich in wildlife.
The Thames Path was opened in 1966 and has been popular with ramblers ever since. It offers the walker splendid and often unique views of the River Thames and its surroundings, much of it so authentic, it may at times give you a sense of stepping back in time. Whether you walk the Thames path in its entirety, or sections thereof, you are bound to have a fascinating experience!
The Thames Path does not have to be walked in its entirety. It can be used for short one or two hour walks, or longer stretches of easy to follow pathways broken up into manageable sections.
The whole length of the path can be walked in around two weeks at an average walking pace. As the path is next to the River Thames, the best time to walk it is probably between April and November, when there is little risk of flooding, and wildlife and views are at their best.
Although the Thames Path is signposted, we recommend carrying a suitable map or guide, such as the book Thames Path: From the source to Hampton Court, which can help you plan your walk and also offers interesting information about the history of the River Thames and places along the trail.
What to consider
Whichever time of the year you walk along (part of) the Thames Path, be prepared for the elements. For longer stretches, warm and waterproof clothing, sun protection and plenty of water should be considered essential. The weather can turn unexpectedly, and, especially in the more remote areas, supplies can be somewhat difficult to find.
At times, parts of the path get very muddy, so even for short walks on sunny days, waterproof footwear may be advisable. If in doubt, check with the local authorities for current conditions before setting off.
Dogs are welcome, but livestock and wildlife, both of which are often nearby, should not be disturbed. Please also remember to observe the Country Code.
How to get there
The Thames Path is within easy reach of many places near the River Thames, and access points are found in or near all towns and villages on the river. For starting at the source of the River Thames, shown on the map to the right, see 'How to get there' in our page The Thames Source.
Much of the Thames Path can be accessed by people with limited mobility or, for example, parents with pushchairs. However, some of the gates are small and would present problems to some, and not all of the path is easily negotiated other than on foot.
Depending on your requirements, it may be advisable to contact the local tourism office for more information on the section of the Thames Path you intend to use.