Follow my progress as I attempt to walk the length of the UK, from Dover to Cape Wrath, wild camping every night. In this chapter, I need to get round London! I walk from the end of the North Downs Way in Guildford, and follow the River Wey Navigations to join the River Thames at Weybridge. Then I follow the Thames Path to join the Grand Union Canal at Slough. You can read about my preparations for this walk here, chapter one here and my full gear list here.
If you’d like to see an overview map of my whole route from Dover to Cape Wrath, it’s here.
Day 5 (continued): Guildford to Byfleet
I left Guildford in the afternoon (having started my day in Brockham). My excitement at finally heading north towards Cape Wrath must have got the better of me. I ended up walking far too far today. I reached the M25 before it dawned on me that I ought to stop and find somewhere to camp!
This stretch of the Wey Navigations was interesting and great flat walking after the rolling hills of the North Downs Way. This is probably another reason why I walked so far today.
The Wey Navigations is owned by the National Trust. It is older than the canals by about 100 years, and was one of the first British rivers to be made navigable. Barges have used it since 1653.
Just like the North Downs Way, the route looks built up on the map. However, stretches of it felt quite remote. It passed through some really lovely scenery.
Suddenly I realised that I was about to cross the M25. I was very worried about finding somewhere to camp after that. Luckily I managed to find a spot tucked away in some woods. It was very hot and the mosquitoes were a pain though. I was too tired to cook any dinner, so I just made myself a coffee and collapsed into bed.
Day 6: Byfleet to Slough
I woke early again this morning. There were still too many mosquitoes so I didn’t bother with coffee or breakfast, and left around 5.30am. It started raining at about 8am so I stopped for breakfast under a tree. I often start walking very early in the morning. I enjoy the solitude, but I usually find I can’t eat anything until later in the morning.
The Wey Navigations finished at Weybridge, and I was sorry to finish this part of the walk. It had been lovely. Before I planned this route I knew nothing about it – despite being a life member of the National Trust for decades!
A cycle way took me from the Wey Navigation to the Thames Path at Chertsey. It was easy walking again past Runnymede and Windsor, then I cut a mile or so across Slough to join the Grand Union Canal.
Once I join the Grand Union Canal I will be following it until I reach the Oxford Canal just north of Daventry. Read the next section of my travels here: Dover to Cape Wrath: Chapter 3
The Thames Path – Cicerone Guide
Harvey Trail Maps – The Thames Path
Land’s End to John O’Groats, via the three peaks
Wildwalkinguk is a blog run by myself in spare time, and I pay for its running costs myself. I do have some Amazon affiliate links and adverts on the site. If you click on these adverts or links and buy what you need (it doesn’t have to be the item I’ve linked to), the company will pay a small commission to us. This money goes towards the costs of hosting the blog. I would be extremely grateful if you could consider using our links when you next need to buy something from our advertisers. Alternatively, you can buy me a coffee here. Thank you so much for your support. Mark.
7 Replies to “Dover to Cape Wrath Chapter 2: Wey Navigations and Thames Path”
Wow, you’re crushing the miles here fella.
5 days deep- hikers blues, maybe? it seems to be a common phenomena. I certainly hit it around day 5′ ish on a multi day trip,
It’s good to see how pleasant the Wey Navigation & Thames Paths section of the route was. After checking out your route on View Ranger, I’d initially thought it looked like journeying through a “lower hell realm” How wrong I was.
Enjoy your mega adventure,.. I’m waiting for my Tarp Tent to arrive from Mr Shires & then… Go well
Hi Dermot. You’ve said it exactly… Looking on the map, the route looks very built up and noisy. But walking it, I was supprised how remote it often felt. Thanks for message. Mark
I live in Yorkshire now, but grew up around, and regularly on, the River Wey. So lovely. My first ever wild camp was at Newark in my teens – it would be another 30 years before my next venture.
As you approached Weybridge you will have passed a house with a round building on the end. That was my bedroom in the mid 70s.
Very best wishes for your journey – I’m watching with much interest.
Do you have a general idea of the route? (You May have already done this and I haven’t looked)
Hi Simon. Thanks for your message. I’m loving the route so far. I’ve been plesantly supprised by hoe good the early part of this walk has been. You’ll find a link to the overall route plan at the top of each page, but I have and am likely to change it slightly as I go. Depending on my mood and the weather. Mark
Following with interest . Glad the tent is living up to expectations . I will be getting one later this year.
Don’t overdo it in your daily mileage . Long way to go !
Hi Mark, enjoying following your progress though probably not as much as you’re enjoying actually doing it! I was just wondering why with your starting point as Dover you didn’t choose to go straight up and through Essex then across to Hertfordshire and join the Grand Union there? as this is “my patch” and I know you could have chosen some great routes if you’d gone this way? No big deal just curious.
Good luck with the rest of the trip and I look forward to following your progress.
Hi Brian. I started at Dover so I could do the North Downs Way and because it’s roughly corner to corner of the British Isles opposite to my Lands End to John O’Groats walk last year. And also makes a pretty cross on our map on the wall at home, which makes my wife happy. These are the things you have to do to get away with going away for 2 months. Thanks for message. Mark