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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.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Saturday walk - Marlow Circular or to Henley - An idyllic stretch of the Thames and maybe some leaf colour

Length: Marlow Circular 21.6km (13.4 miles) or Marlow to Henley 15.2km (9.4 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10 Marlow Circular, 1 out of 10 Marlow to Henley T=2.8

9.57 train from Paddington (10.05 Ealing Broadway) to Maidenhead, changing there (arrive 10.34, depart 10.38: connection usually held, but don't shilly-shally) for Marlow, arriving 11.01.

Buy a day return to Marlow if doing the circular walk

If doing Marlow to Henley there is technically such a thing as a Thames Branches Day Ranger (click on the link for more) which covers both lines, but probably the only place you could buy that is at the ticket office in Paddington, and I wouldn't bet on them having heard of it there either: but I mention it because it is the same price as a day return to Henley: so buy that and tell any officious ticket inspectors on the Marlow branch that you wanted to buy the Ranger.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. For a map of the route click here.

E pericoloso sporgersi, as they used to say on the windows of Italian trains - it is dangerous to stick your neck out. But we had some thumping cold nights on 2 and 3 October, with even a frost reported in Oxfordshire, and that might - just might - be producing some leaf colour by now.

Hence this walk. Starting out with a good stretch along the Thames (and in case you have been reading the comments, Temple Island Bridge reopened in late May, apparently), you pass through the pretty village of Hurley and past all sorts of semi-wooded bits which could be looking pretty and autumnal if they want to be. There are early lunch options in Hurley, but a more likely stop is the Flower Pot in Aston 6.1 miles into the walk, one of the few pubs to still offer traditional pub "fayre" (served all afternoon).

After lunch you have a choice. Two shorter walks to Henley are possible - one over Remenham Hill (8.4 miles from Marlow), the other along the river path (9.5 miles) - with the tempting prospect of the Chocolate Cafe at the end of the walk. Trains back from Henley are at 23 and 53 past the hour

Or continuing with the main walk you come in another 2 miles to Hambleden, where there is a pub, plus a village shop which serves hot drinks and cakes if you are gasping and has a couple of outside tables to sit at while you consume them.

There is then a delightful five mile walk across gentle and very wooded hills into Marlow, which has so many tea options you could write a book about them, but where the traditional choice is Burgers (pronounced "Burjers" apparently), a place which has absolutely nothing to do with beef patties served between buns, but instead has a wonderful range of cakes. It closes at 5pm but there are later options, including the usual cafes Costa/Nero/Starbucks, cosy pubs etc.

Trains back from Marlow are at 06 past the hour.


Anonymous said...

Could there be another orchard-laden Saturday walk in the near future, please, Walker. Thank you.

Walker said...

N=8 hardy types on this walk. Yes, the weather was wet. It rained all day more or less (some brief breaks in the afternoon). But it was w=light-rain which waterproofs could cope with pretty well. With a few tiny exceptions paths were not muddy. There was not a lot of autumn colour, but there was a bit: some nice beech tints in one place in the afternoon. In general a nice autumn walk.

What a delight it was to go to the Flower Pot in Aston for lunch! A good honest pub. No gastro. No food served on wooden boards or slates. No tiny portions piled artistically in the centre of the plate. Instead, good honest food in big portions at reasonable prices. Some nice veggie options. Speedy kitchen service. There should be more like them.

Two decided to carry on to Henley from here. Six of us continued to Marlow, getting a bit strung out. Three at least continued on the main walk route and presumably got the 5.06 train. Two of us did the longer ending. We arrived just too late for Burgers (the tea room) but had tea instead in a rather miserable Starbucks.

Thence to the 6.06 train. It got to Bourne End and got marooned there by points failure. Forty minutes later we were sent back to Marlow and then back to Bourne End, arriving 7.13. The prognosis of the points engineer being gloomy at this point, yours truly decamped to a bus to High Wycombe, thence to catch a train to Marylebone. My companion waited it out another hour at Bourne End before the points were finally fixed. He got back to London two hours behind schedule.

Anonymous said...

If I were you, I would ask for the rail company for a taxi replacement. Had a similar experience this morning heading to Edenbridge. Our train was diverted to East Grindsted. But the good old Southern Rail called taxis for everyone to get to their respective destination. Good luck!

Walker said...

We did ask for taxis. They said the engineer would be there soon. When the engineer said the points could not be fixed they promised taxis. I took the bus at this point - I was not optimistic enough taxis could be found on a Saturday night in Bourne End - but it seems they did fix the points after all. But by this time, says my man on the spot, the driver had left in a taxi, so another driver had to be taxied in. All in all GWR did not cover themselves in glory over this one....