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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Wednesday walk Shiplake Circular walk - bluebells, Greys Court and a walk beside the River Thames

Book 1, Walk 9 - Shiplake Circular (or Shiplake to Henley)

Length: 18.2 km (11.3 miles) or 9.1 miles if finishing in Henley, or with shortcut from Rotherfield Greys  - 6.6 miles
Toughness:  4 out of 10

London Paddington:  10-27 hrs   GWR service to Didcot Parkway   Ealing Broadway 10-35 hrs
Arrive Twyford: 11-07 hrs  Change trains
Leave Twyford: 11-12 hrs  GWR service to Henley-on-Thames
Arrive Shiplake: 11-19 hrs

Return:   Henley-on-Thames to Paddington, changing at Twyford:  15-57, 16-27, 16-59, 17-36 and 18-07 hrs

Shiplake: 4 minutes after trains leave Henley

Rail ticket: a day-return to Henley-on-Thames offers best flexibility for your return journey

Covid-19 Compliance: please note the current guidance on this website and observe social distancing. You should all come prepared to exchange contact details for track and trace purpose. You can either pre-register for this walk (not essential ) by e-mailing me at  or, if you prefer, please write your name, e-mail address and contact 'phone number on a small piece of paper for handing to me on the train or when we assemble at walk start. Thank you.  

This is one of my favourite bluebell walks, and today I suggest we take the High Wood route in the morning to take advantage of the bluebells in this wood.  Onwards then to Binfield Heath, for an early lunch option at the Bottle & Glass pub, with its attractive, large pub garden. The route continues through Crowsley Park and then through a large stud farm before a short road section takes you into the pretty village of Rotherfield Greys for lunch at the usually excellent Maltsters Arms, with its outdoor dining areas.

Post prandial, you can continue with the main walk to Greys Court, with its magnificent bluebell paddock, or you can take a shortcut - a pleasant valley route back to Henley. Those on the main walk have to negotiate Lambridge Wood, where it is easy to wander off piste, so please take care when following the directions. After the wood you cross a golf course and then walk downhill beside George Harrison's grandiose property and on into the town of Henley. You can complete your walk here if you wish, first taking refreshments in the town at many takeaway options on offer, although the suggestion today is to continue the walk back to Shiplake, walking mostly beside the River Thames, then latterly inland, to  come to Shiplake railway station. Almost next door to the station is the Baskerville pub, which should be open for refreshments.  

Walk Directions are here: L=1.9


PeteG said...

For info, the Bottle & Glass is running a Burger Barn with plenty of seating rather than the pub garden.

Mr M Tiger said...

N=18 on a w=cloudy-then-damp-and-chilly day. There were bluebells in the woods but, apart from the occasional swatch, hardly a purple carpet. The usual suspects - celandine, anemone, violet – were also present.
We stopped at the Maltsters where some had lunch in fancy little heated igloos while others, less lucky, sat in the cold. Other stragglers were seen in the churchyard and bus shelter. The church was still shut despite a notice declaring it open.
I left the pub early. On I went past Greys Court eventually coming to the words that have struck terror into many a Book 1 walker “into Lambridge Wood” The clue’s in the name - rearrange the letters and what do you get? BEMOOWDA DRIAGL that’s what The book directions lure the unwary traveller into the heart of this forest looking for paths that are either no longer there or no longer clearly marked. There must be skeletons in that wood still clutching their copies of Book 1. I did find my way through but not without a few moments' disquiet. Surely, the only walk where I am glad to come out on the golf-course!
The online instructions are of course much simpler - basically just "follow the fence line till you come out” but some of us will insist on using the book. When will we ever learn?
I finished the walk at Henley, don’t know about the others. I was, of course, still ahead. (I think).

Marcus said...

According to my track and trace records, n=18 alighted from the train at Shiplake, and we soon set off in an almost Covid-compliant fashion on the High Wood route as it began to drizzle with rain. Throughout the day we encountered drizzle with much needed heavier, steady rain in the afternoon. The High Wood bluebells were good in places but not fully out. Today's rain should bring them along nicely. Some went off piste briefly to admire my favourite bluebell paddock near Round Wood - as lovely as ever - and some picnickers might have stopped here for their lunch. The rest of us continued on to the village of Rotherfield Greys, where the main sandwich corps found shelter from the rain to have their picnics. Two of us had booked separate outdoor tables at the excellent Maltsters Arms and six of us enjoyed some very good food in two of the pub's newly constructed sheltered pods, with electric heaters (much needed) to take off the chill, plus blankets to keep aged legs warm ! Three of the sandwichers joined us for drinks. We were all made most welcome by the chef-owner, who regularly escaped from his kitchen to check we were having a good time - and we were.
By the time we had finished eating the main group of sandwichers were long gone - an hour ahead of us - and I presume they all took the main route to Greys Court. The weather had deteriorated by the time us diners were ready to move off, and some said "what the hell" and called for a cab back to Henley. Three took the direct, pleasant route in the valley to Henley, leaving yours truly to plod on to Greys Court alone, now in steady rain. The bluebells at Greys Court were about 75 % out and with the rain they should be at their best this coming weekend. The bluebells in Lambridge Wood were really nice with some glorious carpets to admire.
Some of us had not come prepared for the rain so I am not sure if any of the sandwichers continued on the walk beyond Henley to Shiplake - do please file your own report here - but as I was a tad damp by now I headed straight for Henley railway station - in time for the 16-59 hrs train to Twyford.
Good SWC company over lunch and in the morning, and a lovely solo walk for me post prandial. It might have been wet but no-one seemed too concerned, given the need for rain after a dry April.

Marcus said...

Sorry, Ian , your walk report was not showing when I started to put pen to paper this morning.
It's high time you abandoned the old TO Book for web-site print offs - we cannot have our rear gunner getting lost all the time - although we love reading of your travails and mishaps in your reports, which keep us much amused ! !