From Source to Sea

Notes from a 215-Mile Walk Along the River Thames

  • Imprint: Summersdale
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320
  • Price: £16.99
  • Publication date: 8 June 2017
  • ISBN: 9781849539210

About the book

Over the years, authors, artists and amblers aplenty have felt the pull of the Thames, and now travel writer Tom Chesshyre is following in their footsteps.
He’s walking the length of the river from the Cotswolds to the North Sea – a winding journey of over two hundred miles. Join him for an illuminating stroll past meadows, churches and palaces, country estates and council estates, factories and dockyards. Setting forth in the summer of Brexit, and meeting a host of interesting characters along the way, Chesshyre explores the living present and remarkable past of England’s longest and most iconic river.

About the author

Tom Chesshyre is the author of ten travel books. He has travelled 40,000 miles around the world for his train books; most recently for Slow Trains Around Spain: A 3,000-Mile Adventure on 52 Rides. His book writing has also taken him across North Africa after the Arab Spring, round the “dark side” of the Maldives on cargo ships and on a journey through “unsung Britain” (in To Hull and Back). He worked on travel desk of The Times for 21 years and is now freelance. His train column “Tickets, Please” appears in The Critic magazine. He lives in London.


'I found myself quickly falling into step beside Tom Chesshyre, charmed by his amiable meanderings, pointed observations and meetings with strangers along the way... but most of all Chesshyre champions the joys of a good walk through fascinating surroundings - with beer and blisters at the end of the day'

Fergus Collins BBC Countryfile Magazine

Readers should perhaps prepare themselves for a whole new wave of Whither England? type books in the months and years ahead, and Chesshyre's is a not unwelcome early attempt to answer that seemingly urgent question.’

Ian Sansom, Times Literary Supplement

‘Journalist Tom Chesshyre has produced a readable, richly entertaining and highly informative book in From Source to Sea’

Chris Gray, The Oxford Times

‘Chesshyre cuts an engaging figure… He has a true journalist’s instinct for conversational encounters – Kurdistani picnickers in the river meadows upstream of London, pub thugs in the badlands of the lower Thames, other Thames Path pilgrims he rubs up against along the way. He also demonstrates a nose for a juicy tale, from a pre-Raphaelite ménage-àtrois at Kelmscott Manor to the discreet nookie column in the Marlow Free Press. Chesshyre’s journey is rich in history and thick with characters, fables and happenstance – a highly readable and entertaining saunter along England’s iconic river.’

Christopher Somerville, author of Britain’s Best Walks

'An enjoyable refuge from everyday life'

Clive Aslet, The Times

‘Chesshyre’s book stands out from other accounts of walking the Thames Path in its contemporary (post-Brexit, pre-Trump) immediacy. A portrait of England and the English in our time, it is peppered with fascinating historical and literary markers. It’s also a usefully opinionated guide to watering-holes and B&Bs from the sleepy Cotswold villages to the dystopian edgelands of the estuary.’

Christina Hardyment, author of Writing the Thames

‘Beautifully written and exquisite in observation, Tom Chesshyre’s latest book, From Source to Sea is a fitting tribute to the mighty Thames that flows like a golden thread through the history of Britain.’

Harry Bucknall, author of Like a Tramp, Like a Pilgrim

‘The result is this enjoyable travelogue, guiding the reader through the delightful towns and cities strung like pearls along the river, the 'liquid history' of the Thames from the Romans to the Profumo Affair and the beloved works of art and literature inspired by life on its banks, most famously Alice in Wonderland, Three Men in a Boat and The Wind in the Willows... a welcome addition to the Thames cannon.’

Richard Tarrant, The Lady