Book 2, walk 6 - Henley via Stonor
Length: 21.9km (13.6 miles) or 19.4km (12.1 miles) - short walk of 14km (8.8 miles) also possible: see bottom of post
Toughness: 6 out of 10 8.57
train from Paddington
(9.05 Ealing Broadway
), changing at Twyford (arrive 9.42, depart 9.50: connection usually held, but you need to cross the footbridge so don't dawdle)
, arriving Henley at 10.02.
Buy a day return
Henley-in-Arden). Walk directions
: the online version
includes important updates
and is to be preferred to bringing the book.
I had kept this walk back for the last day of Summer Time because it needs an early train from Paddington, as you see. I thought people might brave that on the last long walking day till March. But as we now know that walkers will happily get up for an 8.18 train from the same station not once but twice (!!!),
this one is a positive lie-in. If you still need persuading, remember you get an extra hour in bed
This is essentially a Chilterns walk, with plenty of small beechwoods
which may just be showing some colour by now (the Chorleywood to Chesham walk last Sunday reported some good tints...)
It is also many many years since I have managed to get to the proper lunch stop
for this walk, The Crown
in Pishill (no sniggering at the back there).
This is a great little place, but popular and they are fussy about walking groups booking in advance. I have done my best to be charming to them and reserved a table for ten people
under my name for 1pm
. I was quizzed quite a bit about when exactly we would turn up ("so we can plan properly and the kitchen is not overwhelmed"), so if you walk faster and get there at 12.30 and they ask you to wait till 1pm till you order, please be polite and considerate about it. Those in excess of the 10 booked for lunch
can ring up the Crown and be even more charming and they may well be accommodated. Otherwise all a bit earlier in the walk is The Quince Tree
"British Pub, Farm Shop and Food Hall". This has both a rather posh pub and a cafe and serves food all afternoon. If you eat here you can take the Stonor Short Cut
and shave 2.5km (1.6 miles)
off the walk. But when we tried it 2.5 years ago this was what I call a "bag of chips" place - that is, after spending £20 on lunch, you feel like buying a bag of chips to fill you up.
You have roughly half the walk to do after lunch. Towards Henley take especial care in Lambourne Woods. There is only one official footpath through this and it is fairly straightforward but there are lots of side paths and trees with arrows on have a habit of disappearing. If in doubt, bear right.
The tea stop, if you can get there in time, is The Chocolate Cafe
(ex Henley Tea Rooms), which when I last looked closes at 6pm
. Henley is not short of other refreshment options.
It is nearly full moon and if the skies are clear, a moonlight walk
down the Thames Path (all tarmac) to Mill Lock (about a mile, back the same way) is a lovely way to round off the day. Trains back
are at 24
past until late
** The short walk option
is option a)
in the walk document, but it is only three miles to lunch at The Rainbow in Middle Assendon and taking a train this early you will get there somewhat before they open at midday. But you could linger a bit in Henley, maybe.