The Goring Gap seen from Lardon Chase on a snowy January day, with the Chilterns in the background

The Goring Gap is a British geological feature that is located on the River Thames, approximately 10 miles (16 km) upstream of Reading and 27 miles (43 km) downstream of Oxford. The river here forms the county boundary between Berkshire and Oxfordshire.

Half a million years ago the River Thames flowed on its existing course through Oxfordshire, but then turned northeast to flow through Hertfordshire before eventually reaching the North Sea in East Anglia near Ipswich. During the last ice age, the ice sheet blocked the river's exit to the sea, whilst the amounts of melt water entering the river caused it to pond up into a lake. This eventually cut a new route through the chalk at the site of the Goring Gap. The newly formed route then flowed through Berkshire and present day London before finally reaching the North Sea.[1]

Today, the Goring Gap constricts the River Thames, narrowing the otherwise broad river valley. Steep hills rise southwards to Lardon Chase, the nearest section of the Berkshire Downs while the Chiltern Hills rise to the north. The twin villages of Goring and Streatley straddle the River Thames at the Goring Gap.[2][3] The Thames Path, Icknield Way and the Ridgeway cross the Thames at Goring.

The Goring Gap forms an important communications and transportation corridor. Besides the river itself, which is now limited to navigation for leisure purposes, the gap accommodates the A329 road linking Reading and Oxford, along with the Great Western Main Line railway from London to Bristol and South Wales.[4]

The Goring Gap on a summer's evening from Lardon Chase


The River Thames as it passes through the Gap
  1. ^ Michael J Crawley. "Geology and Soils" (PDF). Imperial College. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 June 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
  2. ^ "GEOGRAPHY & GEOLOGY". Visit Goring and Streatley. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  3. ^ "The Goring Gap". Save the Goring Gap. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  4. ^ Sir A. STRAHAN, K.B.E., F.R.S (1924). "THE GEOLOGY OF THE THAMES VALLEY NEAR GORING, as illustrated by the Model in the Museum of Practical Geology". Reports & Proceedings—Geologists Association. Mem. Geol. Surv. Retrieved 23 January 2016.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

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Coordinates: 51°31′23″N 01°08′30″W / 51.52306°N 1.14167°W / 51.52306; -1.14167