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This Week's Walks - Archive

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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, 18 December 2019

Wednesday Walk Maidenhead to Marlow

Maidenhead to Marlow
Length: 14.2km (8.8 miles) 3 out of 10

"This is a simple outing along a very pretty stretch of the Thames. In winter the route is not excessively muddy.

To begin with the walk takes a somewhat prosaic route for a mile or so through Maidenhead to get to the river by Brunel’s famous Maidenhead Rail Bridge, the widest brick arch ever built. It then follows the Thames Path to Cookham, with the wooded escarpment of the Cliveden estate on the far side of the river. After lunch you climb up onto an escarpment with fine views of the Thames Valley. Finally, you descend into Marlow, a pretty eighteenth century town with lots of tea choices."

Trains: GWR have a major timetable change on the 15th, but hopefully it will be working by today. Take the 1020 Oxford train from Paddington, changing at Slough (arr 1033) for the 1046 Tfl Rail train to Reading arriving Maidenhead 1056. Alternatively get the Tfl rail train from Paddinton at 1013 Ealing Broadway 1024 to avoid changing. If you miss all those, the 1027 Didcot train gets you to Maidenhead for 1100. Buy a return to Marlow.
A note on Tfl rail: Freedom passes are valid on Tfl rail trains to Reading, in which case you will just need a single from Marlow to Maidenhead. These Tfl trains do not have toilets and are the future Cross Rail trains.

Return trains are: 1500, 1600, 1718, 1747, 1824 changing at Maidenhead. GWR tickets are valid on any train from Maidenhead.

Lunch: A wide choice in Cookham, with the Kings Arms being good.

Tea: The Marlow Donkey by the station.


PeteG said...

There is disruption on the line to Reading this morning due to a track problem, but this seems to be on the inbound services

Walker said...

To me falls the (hopefully not) “poisoned chalice” of writing the walk report. (To explain, dear reader: one of our number, a secondary school teacher of English, was explaining at lunch how he seeks to expand his pupils’ vocabulary by introducing them to new phrases. Most SWC walkers aspire in my case to reduce my vocabulary, but he “laid down the gauntlet” to see how many of his phrases I could get into my walk report. Sadly you will “bear the brunt” of this...)

(Can I stop now?)

N=9 on this walk, at least some of us enjoying our first ride on Crossrail (or TFL Rail, as it is at present: it now operates all stopping trains to Reading). The Crossrail trains are smart and purple, but light on seating, particularly of the transverse type. And no, no toilets or charging points (the ancient diesels on the Marlow branch have both. Just saying.)

Setting off from Marlow we enjoyed w=sparkling-morning-sunshine, though it clouded up during lunch. A closed path on the way through Maidenhead meant more road walking than usual, but once by the Thames all was very idyllic. The river running high and fast, Brunel’s improbable flat-arched railway bridge still standing, great tits and blue tits singing. Even the squawking parakeets (have they reached here too, then?) seemed charming.

Four of us lunched at the King’s Arms, enjoying two courses for £12.95. The sandwich eaters put their heads around the door, but basically went on ahead of us, as is customary. In the afternoon a bracing climb up Winter Hill, now under grey skies, and a descent through the woods to the Marlow flood plain.

This was indeed somewhat flooded, as the sandwich party had kindly warned us. Nothing daunted, we proceeded to try the tunnels under the A404 but they were all completely inundated. (My English teacher wants me to say the floods “beggared belief”: but they did not: they were just what I expected, given that these are flood tunnels.)

So we retraced to the road and walked down that into Marlow. I lured two of the party into Burgers for tea, which proved quite leisurely as we had just missed the 16.00 train and the next one was not till 17.18. I later learned that one walker had just missed the 16.00 and gone to the Marlow Donkey pub, where we would have gone if I had not insisted on Burgers. Sorry about that.

As a “parting shot” I should mention the Crossrail ride back from Maidenhead, which was standing room only. Well, it is nice to see the new trains are popular, I suppose.

(So, Mr Teacher: how did I do? 10/10?)

Anonymous said...

Mr Journalist (retired), A tour de force - I salute you. Another great SWC walk with lively chat, some of it, remarkably, idiom-free. Festive Greetings to all.