The Goring Gap is where the Thames River cuts through the ridge of chalk as the Chilterns and North Wessex Downs National Landscapes meet. We will take in the stunning views and learn about the amazing natural heritage of this chalk landscape, hopefully catching the flitting butterflies that thrive on the flower-rich grassland.

The walk passes through National Trust land, moving on to the National Ridgeway Trail and a visit to Rectory Farm. During the walk, we will see grassland that should be rich in a wide variety of plants, but has fallen into a degraded state as farming and recreational pressures have changed. We’ll compare this with thriving flower-rich grasslands and land in restoration. At Rectory Farm, we will meet Charles McCulloch who manages this family owned farm, and learn how two landowners are restoring the chalk grassland here using new machinery and techniques to harvest and re-sow the seed.

Help us to look for flowers like kidney vetch, common rock-rose, greater knapweed, small scabious, carline thistle, mouse-ear, using guides that we will provide. We will then walk back up the hill to finish at the car park.

The walk will be led by Ruth who is the Programme Manager for Mend the Gap – a programme that aims to enhance the areas of the Chilterns and North Wessex Downs National Landscapes that have been negatively impacted by the electrification of the Great Western Railway.

Please bring waterproofs and stout closed-toe shoes for this walk. We encourage you to bring a sun hat and protection if it is hot as the downland is quite exposed in places. This walk will be on grass footpaths with a short distance on Rectory Road – a single track road. The paths on the grassland are steep down hill and then again up hill. If you would like to know more about the route, email Ruth: rstaplesrolfe@chilternsaonb.org.

Walk leader/organisation: Ruth Staples-Rolfe, Mend the Gap, Chilterns and North Wessex Downs National Landscapes

Walk Information

  • Booking: Free – Booking essential – 16 places
  • Distance & approximate duration: 3 miles (4.8 km) – 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Fairly strenuous (challenging, steep gradients, rough terrain).
  • Accessibility: Suitable for older children (12+). Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult (see useful information). Not suitable for wheelchairs or prams/pushchairs. This walk includes chalk downland with steep slopes.
  • Dogs: No dogs.
  • Refreshments: Bring snacks and drinks as needed. There are no places to purchase refreshments on the route (see below). 
  • Toilets: There are no toilets on the route (see below).
  • Meeting point: Lardon Chase Car Park, Streatley Hill, RG8 9RB. What3Words: riverbed.saving.example. OS grid reference: SU 583 806. Google Maps.
  • Public transport: Goring Station is 1.4 miles from the meeting point up the hill through Streatley.
  • Parking: Lardon Chase Car Park, RG8 9RB. This is a National Trust Car park but it is free to members and non members. It is suitable for 20 cars and has a gravelled surface.

For general booking information, health and safety advice, terms and conditions please see our useful information page.

Further information

There are a range of nice pubs and cafés, plus public toilets, in nearby picturesque Goring and Streatley.

The Mend the Gap Programme aims to enhance the areas of the Chilterns and North Wessex Downs National Landscapes that have been negatively impacted by the electrification of the Great Western Railway, find out more.

Ridgeway and Streatley © Dave Olinski