Posted: Tuesday 14 November 2017
South East Associates
Shillingford and Wallingford Walk
- Wednesday 4th October -
This 6-mile circular walk along the Thames Path between Shillingford and Wallingford combined some scenic river views with a little bit of history as we visited the ancient site of Wallingford Castle - first built in the 11th century.
A group of ten intrepid Associates began the walk at the Grade II* listed Shillingford Bridge and followed the Thames Path downstream, crossing at Benson Weir, situated about half-way to Wallingford and a good place to have a break and watch the river traffic navigating the lock.
After a short while, we continued the walk on the opposite bank path, past verdant fields and meadows into Wallingford. Wallingford lies at the foot of the Chilterns and was a medieval market town of some importance. William the Conqueror crossed the Thames here to march on Berkhamsted during the Norman invasion.
The original wooden castle - a motte and bailey structure completed around 1070 - was one of three built to establish control over the Thames Valley. Unfortunately, all that remains are extensive earthworks, some wall ruins and the remnants of a tower, however, there is access via a small bridge over a ditch to the Norman motte - mound.
A few of the group took the opportunity during a short break, whilst the others enjoyed the Castle Gardens, to make the climb to the top of the motte and were rewarded with spectacular views over the town and river.
On top of the motte
Of more recent historical note, Agatha Christie lived and worked in Wallingford - her remains are buried at nearby Cholsey - and the murder mystery theme has continued to the present as Wallingford has apparently been used as the location for Causton in the TV series Midsomer Murders.
The published walk returns to Shillingford Bridge along a path by the side of the A329 from Wallingford, however, we decided to take the more scenic and slightly longer route back by walking through the castle grounds and rejoining the Thames Path back to Shillingford.
To end the event and partake of much needed refreshment, we took a short drive to nearby Warborough for lunch at the Six Bells pub - or ‘The Quill Inn’, ‘The Black Swan’ and ‘The Luck in the World’ if you are a Midsomer Murders fan!
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