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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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Saturday, 30 July 2016

Saturday Second Walk - Summer riverside idyll

Book 2, walk 8 - Marlow Circular
Length: 13.5km (8.4 miles) to 21.6km (13.4 miles)
Toughness 4 out of 10 (1 out of 10 for shorter riverside option)

9.57 train from Paddington (10.05 Ealing Broadway), to Maidenhead, arriving 10.34: changing there (cross the footbridge quickly!) for the 10.38 to Marlow, arriving 11.01.

For walk directions click here.

Buy a day return to Marlow, unless you plan to do either of the Henley endings (see below) in which case buy a day return to Henley. This should be accepted to Marlow (point out it is the same price as the Thames Branches Day Rover, if that still exists) but if not you will only have to pay from Maidenhead to Marlow.

What better way to spend a high summer's day than walking along one of the most beautiful stretches of the upper Thames? 

The morning of this walk does just that - though with a few twists and turns for variety (such as inland diversion through the village of Hurley, which still looks a bit like the monastery it originally was).


For most people, the most convenient choice will be the quirky Flower Pot in Aston, 9.9km (6.2 miles) into the walk: on such flat terrain you should reach it by 1.30pm or so: it stops serving food at 2.30pm (or did last time I checked).

An earlier option, 4.8km (3 miles) into the walk, is Ye Old Bell Inn in Hurley : it is possibly a bit posh for us, but I see on its website that it sometimes has a summer kitchen with outside tables. It might be a good choice for the shorter walkers (see below) who don't want to be rushed.

There is also a tea kiosk at Hurley Lock, just before the village,

Very fast walkers might make it to the Stag and Huntsman in Hambleden, but this is 13.2km (8.2 miles) into the walk, and stops serving food at 2.30pm

In the afternoon 

you have three choices:

- continue on the river into Henley, another beautiful section of Thames Path - 5.7km (3.5 miles) from Aston, making a total walk from Marlow of 15.6km (9.7 miles). To do this follow the main walk to Hambleden Lock and then the Thames Path from there (no directions needed).

- go over low hills into Henley3.6km (2.2 miles) after Aston, making a total walk from Marlow of 13.5km (8.4 miles): for this you need the directions for Book 2, walk 7 - see here - you only need the last two pages

- continue with the main walk, 11.7km (7.3 miles) after Aston, which crosses the river to Hambleden and then has a nicely contrasting section through wooded hills back to Marlow.


Lots of options in Marlow, some open quite late. On the main walk, Hambleden village has a shop that serves tea and cakes and has an outside table or two. In Henley, the Chocolate Cafe just beyond the bridge is the usual choice. Plenty of pubs in both Henley and Marlow.

Trains back

06 past the hour from Marlow (till 21.06, then 22.16), 24 past from Henley

1 comment:

Walker said...

Difficult to say exactly but I think n=16 on this walk: 13 at the start and at least three late starters. The weather was w=cloud-clearing-to-plenty-of-sunshine. A pleasant morning walk along the river. Just before lunch a beautiful meadow of flowers and butterflies. The Flower Pot in Aston was busy but produced food so quickly it boggled the mind. There was a big contingent of leather-clad bikers (ie motorbikers) who departed with thunderous engine revving.

One person then decided to reverse the morning of the walk, possibly to visit the charming village fete we had seen starting up in Hurley. If any went on to Henley I do not know. But certainly a good contingent of us went on to Hambleden, where we had a nice tea on the tables outside the village shop, and on through the woods to Marlow. Here on the "boring kilometre" along a wooded valley there were loads of flowers and my companion spotted an elusive silver-washed fritillary butterfly. A tiny side trip to the Homefield Wood nature reserve revealed other flowers and butterflies.

I know some ended with drinks in the Marlow Donkey and got the 7.06 train. Three of us stayed on to have a wonderful Indian meal at Maliks in the High Street, sat at a lovely upstairs table by an open window.