See that? That’s a fairly standard view of the Thames valley for me, and has been for a lot of my life. Thames in the middle, steep hills either side of the river climbing up after about anything from 50m to 3/4 mile of flat floodplain. (no crops, few houses. Clue’s in the name – it floods most winters. The metal thing is a set of railway lights – the railway’s set halfway up the hill on our side.) It’s what the valley looks like round here – an actual valley. Not a very big one, either. 4 miles as the crow flies from top point of the hills on either side of the river, 30-40min to walk from the top of the hill on my side down to a wideish river. The hills are steeper on the other side.
Hence why I always blink a lot when I hear the name of the massive half flat half rolling hills bit of the South East of England described as ‘the Thames Valley’. (a more accurate term would be Thames River Basin) I come from the narrowest, steepest sided part of the Thames Valley where it’s recognisably a valley.