Thames Pathway

Journal of a Walk Down the River Thames

by Keith Pauling

Shillingford

The short diversion over, I return to the confluence and continue downstream towards Shillingford. The pathway veers across to meet the main road and then takes me down the unadopted Wharf Road back towards the river. This small deviation throws up a couple of nice surprises.

Firstly there is Wisteria Cottage with its front covered for about fifty yards with blue Wisteria. It has obviously been lovingly tended for many years and is a most wonderful sight.

Wisteria Cottage
Wisteria Cottage

Secondly there is one of those spots that has that special “something”. The unmade road comes to the riverbank and provides a restful scene. There are benches to sit on and just absorb the atmosphere. Immediately on my right there is a boathouse. Not just any boathouse though; this one has a thatched roof. It takes a marvellous photograph.

Thatched Boathouse
Thatched Boathouse

The pathway threads through a narrow alley taking me around Shillingford Court, and onward to Shillingford Bridge and back to the towpath. I look back towards the bridge and see the three stone arches. The bridge was built in 1827 and is another fine example of a river bridge. The positioning of this bridge is interesting, for it is exactly halfway between Reading and Oxford. It is a reminder of how far I have yet to travel, for Reading itself is still only halfway between the source and the flood barrier.

Shillingford Bridge
Shillingford Bridge

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