Book 1, Walk 1 (R) - Henley Circular
Length: 16.1 km (10 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10
: 09-45 hrs
(Oxford Train) Ealing Broadway: 09-53 hrs
Arrive Twyford: 10-36 hrs
Leave Twyford: 10-43 hrs (Henley train)
Arrive Henley-on-Thames: 10-55 hrs Return: 07 minutes
past the hour
Last year our attempt at this walk - our traditional New Year's Day walk west of London - was nearly thwarted by two suicides on the railway line which closed Paddington for six hours. Car drivers came to our rescue - but let's hope no such tragedies on the line disrupt our departure by train this year.
As in recent years we do this walk "backwards", or clockwise, heading out of Henley onto the Oxfordshire Way and up into the hills of Henley Park above the town, where we stop to toast in the New Year with some bubbly. If I bring the shampoo, perhaps others could bring some savoury nibbles.
Then onwards through the village of Fawley and down through the Great Wood (which can be muddy) before we descend to Hambledon for lunch at the (usually excellent) Stag & Huntsman pub
. We have a table reserved for our SWC New Year regulars - others will have to take pot luck. The pub is usually very busy on New Year's Day, and to make life easier for the pub's staff please bring cash if eating at our reserved table - no cards
(last year the bill was recalculated a dozen times as individuals presented their debit / credit cards ). Only cash payments today, please.
Post prandial, we head for the River Thames and Hambledon Lock and its impressive weir, which we cross before taking the tow path beside the River all the way back into Henley. We will be losing daylight along this stretch, but provided we do not have to detour into the hills to avoid flooded sections of the path, we should be OK. But in case we have to make some detours please bring along a torch.
Tea in Henley is usually taken at the former Henley Tea Rooms (now called the Chocolate Theatre Cafe) but there are plenty of watering holes in the town, usually open, for those in need of a stronger drink. From the Tea Rooms it's a short walk to the railway station for your journey home.
For our Clapham Junctionite friends who do not like travelling north of the Thames, a Sunday Walk Poster will be posting a New Year's Day Walk - South, especially for you.
Directions for Henley walk here L=1.1