This Thames Valley route starts along a cycle path from Didcot Station, visits historic Dorchester and Wallingford and then follows the river into the Goring Gap to Goring itself before returning to Wallingford, enjoying longer views from the upper side of the valley.
From there it takes a more direct route back to Didcot. It is mostly flat, minor roads with the odd busier stretch near the river. But there is a long but gentle climb out of Goring and an unmade section around South Stoke where, if you are using a road bike, you might prefer to stick to the B4009. On the route you pass through towns aching under the weight of the antiquity, several places associated with Jerome K Jerome's trip down the Thames immortalised in 'Three men in a Boat' and can pop into a couple of mini-museums of you wish.
In addition to the summaries here, there are notes on each waypoint. These can be difficult to find and access on Outdooractive. You can find better edited and updatded versions on my blog site, www.pootler.co.uk . Look under the 'Pootler' heading.
The Thames has moved around quite a lot over time. At its zenith it was much larger, draining much of North Wales and following a route to the north of Chilterns along the valley now occupied by the River Thame and Thame Valley, before flowing into the North Sea, perhaps around where Ipswich is today. During a severe Ice Age around 500,000 years ago his route was blocked by glaciers so it turned south, cutting through the Chilterns in what is now the Goring Gap and adopting its present path to the sea.
If you start at Didcot Station, the route takes you through a housing estate before joining National Cycle Route 5 which crosses the flat fields of the river plain as far as Long Wittenham where it heads north and across the river to visit picturesque Dorchester before heading back across the river to get to Wallingford, a town stuffed with good cafes, pubs and a lot of history and things to see. The route is shaped like the figure eight with Wallingford at its intersection so you return through here on the way back.
From Wallingford you head south into the Gap itself en route to Goring & Streatley on the B4009 before diverting off on a partly unmade route through South Stoke and nearer to the river. If you are using a road bike you might prefer to stick to the B4009. Goring is beautifully located in the deepest points in the Valley, which might prove to be a disadvantage you have to climb the valley side to enjoy wider views across open fields to the chalk downs to the west before heading back to Wallingford. The return from here to Didcot is more direct and skirts the foot of the Lambourn Downs.
If you want a better edited version of these notes or to add to or comment on them, please visit my blog (link) www.pootler.co.uk