I completed Swan’s Way today! I did this final section ‘backwards’, parking in Goring and first walking back to Grim’s Ditch where I finished the previous walk, then turning round and heading back to Goring.
It took almost an hour and a half to drive to Goring, including stopping for petrol – this is just about the longest drive for any of my walks. It was much colder today, with a stiff NE wind – I wore a warm shirt, but also had to put on my waterproof jacket because the wind was so cold.
From Grim’s Ditch, the ancient earthwork, I followed a lane a short distance, then continued on a bridleway. This ran through an almost imperceptible valley called Drunken Bottom (!) and continued onwards in the same southerly direction, running paralle to the line of the Chiltern Hills. I crossed a couple of lanes and eventually reached a main road – the route so far was shown on the map as being that of the ancient Icknield Way.
Just after the main road I turned right on a pleasant bridleway that went around or over a couple of hillocks, Watch Folly and White Hill. I could see Didcot Power Station in the Oxfordshire Plain, and across the Thames to the Wessex Downs. I next turned left along a road – rather busy, I had to step onto a rough uneven verge whenever a car came by – and after half a mile went right, down a lane into the village of South Stoke.
I’d been here before, last summer on the first day of my Berks-Essex Walk. It’s an attractive village, with a very large number of old houses and cottages of different styles. A path led on from there, soon becoming a private drive which ran through the gardens of some smart residences with the Thames a short distance to my right. The drive ended at a lane that led down to a riverside pub, and I continued on a bridleway, eventually reaching Cleve Road in Goring, the end of Swan’s Way.
This was a shorter walk than normal, only about 4 hours in total. A very pleasant an enjoyable walk, with some nice views to the Chilterns, over the Oxfordshir Plain, and across the Thames to the Wessex Downs. I timed it just right – it started raining as I drove out of Goring.