Marlow Circular walk

The Thames path in the morning, a classic pub for lunch, gentle hill afterwards.


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date Option Post # Weather
Sat, 24-Sep-22 Marvelous Marlow 9 sunny morning cloudy afternoon
Wed, 11-May-22 Wednesday Walk Marlow Circular - the Thames Path and water meadows to Aston, on to Hambleden, then through wooded hills back to Marlow 7 rain all day mostly of the drizzly sort
Wed, 17-Nov-21 a Wednesday Walk Marlow to Henley - Thameside meadows and wooded hills 17 glorious sunny late autumn day
Sat, 18-Jul-20 Saturday walk - Marlow Circular - an easy walk along the Thames 10 sunny intervals followed by cloud followed by hot sun
Sat, 12-Oct-19 Saturday walk - Marlow Circular or to Henley - An idyllic stretch of the Thames and maybe some leaf colour 8 light rain
Sat, 20-Apr-19 Marlow to Henley-on-Thames 14 gloriously warm and sunny
Sat, 21-Jul-18 Saturday Walk Marlow Circular 13 hot muggy
Sat, 01-Jul-17 Saturday Walk - Marlow to Marlow or Henley 14 warm breezy grey until late when the sun came out
Sat, 30-Jul-16 Saturday Second Walk - Summer riverside idyll 16 cloud clearing to plenty of sunshine
Wed, 20-Jul-16 Midweek day walk Marlow to Henley-on-Thames 8 slightly overcast developing into the forecast scorcher
Sat, 20-Feb-16 Saturday First Walk - Henley to Marlow 2
Sat, 12-Dec-15 b Saturday First Walk - The Thames and wooded hills 6
Sat, 03-Oct-15 Marlow Circular 14 cloudy warm later with glimpses of sun
Sat, 09-Aug-14 Marlow Circular 0
Sun, 01-Jun-14 a Marlow to Henley, via Remenham Hill
Sun, 01-Jun-14 Marlow Circular 7
Sat, 16-Nov-13 a Marlow to Henley, via river path 17
Sat, 25-May-13 a Marlow to Henley, via river path 17
Sat, 02-Mar-13 b Henley to Marlow 10
Sun, 14-Oct-12 b Henley to Marlow
Sat, 28-Jul-12 Marlow Circular
Sun, 29-Apr-12 Marlow Circular
Wed, 07-Sep-11 Marlow Circular
Sat, 18-Jun-11 Marlow Circular
Sun, 06-Mar-11 b Henley to Marlow
Sun, 06-Mar-11 Marlow Circular
Sat, 09-Oct-10 Marlow Circular
Sun, 11-Jul-10 Marlow Circular
Sat, 04-Jul-09 Marlow Circular
Sun, 05-Apr-09 Marlow Circular
Sat, 06-Sep-08 Marlow Circular
Sun, 15-Jun-08 Marlow Circular
Sun, 11-May-08 Marlow Circular
Sat, 16-Feb-08 a Marlow Circular
Sun, 01-Jul-07 Marlow Circular
Sat, 23-Jun-07 Marlow Circular
Sat, 24-Mar-07 Marlow Circular
Sat, 24-Sep-22 : Marvelous Marlow 9

SWC Book 2 – Walk 8: Marlow Circular t=2.8

Distance: 13.2 miles or 21.3 km for those more metrically minded OR 14.7 miles/23.6 km with the alternate ending

Difficulty: 4 out of 10

Train: Take the 9:57AM Great Western Didcot train from London Paddington, changing at Maidenhead (arrive 10:28; depart 10:35), arriving at Marlow 10.58. Return trains (all requiring a change at Maidenhead) are at 01 past the hour (except for 20:06). Buy a day return to Marlow.

This is a varied walk exploring a picturesque section of the Thames and then passing over and through some wooded hills. You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.

Your are spoiled for lunch options with a choice of the Flower Pot Hotel (01491 547 721) in Aston (6 miles/10 km into the walk) and the Stag & Huntsman (01491 571 221) in Hambleton (8 miles/12 km into the walk). Please call ahead to confirm availability.

Tea can be had at various locations back in Marlow with Burgers and the George and Dragon being suggested.

Enjoy the walk!

  • 24-Sep-22

    What’s the meeting time and point please?

  • 25-Sep-22

    Our number may have been reduced by the appointed train not stopping at Ealing Broadway, but 9 assembled at Marlow. A sunny morning cloudy afternoon Off we went, along the river, crossing side to side at every available bridge. This side, that side, even a bit down the middle.

    Eventually, the eagerly awaited Flower Pot was reached. But, readers, it was shut!! Shut shut shut. Shut until the New Year. After a spell bawling and howling like banshees, we picked ourselves up and resolutely agreed to carry on to the Stag and Huntsman like the sturdy Saturday walkers we were. Our troubles weren’t over, though. En route we had a protracted wait at Hambledon Lock for three boats to go through.

    When we got there, they were having an ‘event’. For ex-pat South Africans. How come so many in the Chilterns? What do they do for biltong? Add a sprinkling of charity walkers and us. The place was packed and there was a big queue for service. Once ordered, however, meals came quick and we managed to commandeer two tables.

    We set off again at 3. Up a bloody big hill where poor Mr Tiger was soon left behind. Left to rely on satellite technology and a dog-eared book 2 all the way through the extensive woods, up hill, down dale until Marlow was reached. Poor thing.

    There, he reestablished contact with two of the others at a tea shop, called Strawberry something… nice cakes. (Mr Tiger had a chocolate covered doughnut with apricot jam in). They had lost sight of the others who, presumably, had raced on and got the 5:01. The three laggards got the 6:01 after a brief sojourn in the Donkey, where a kindly benefactor bought Mr Tiger a drink.

Book 2 Walk 8 - Marlow Circular

Length: 19.4 km (12.1 miles) Option to reduce to 8.7 miles or 8 miles by finishing in Henley
Toughness: 4 out of 10 Some wooded hills in afternoon of Circular walk Remainder easy going
London Paddington: 09-56 hrs Great Western service to Didcot Parkway Ealing Broadway 10-05 hrs
Arrive Maidenhead: 10-30 hrs Change trains
Leave Maidenhead: 10-34 hrs Great Western service from Maidenhead to Marlow
Arrive Marlow: 10-57 hrs
Or - for Freedom Pass holders
London Paddington: 09-43 hrs TfL Rail service to Reading Ealing Broadway 09-51 hrs
Arrive Maidenhead: 10-24 hrs Change trains
Leave Maidenhead: 10-34 hrs Great Western service from Maidenhead to Marlow - as above
Arrive Marlow: 10-57 hrs
Marlow to Paddington, via Bourne End and Maidenhead: Great Western services at 16-00, 17-18, 17-47, 18-24 hrs and so on
Henley-on-Thames to Paddington via Twyford: 15-27, 15-57, 16-27, 16-59, 17-36 and so on
Rail ticket: Holders of London Councils Freedom Passes can travel on TfL Rail trains from Paddington to Maidenhead for free. That just leaves you to buy a day return from Maidenhead to Marlow (or Henley-on-Thames for Henley finishers). For travellers of all ages on Great Western trains out of Paddington , you will need to purchase day returns to Marlow (or Henley).
Some five months ago Wednesday walkers did one of the Marlow to Henley options of this walk, on a fine late autumn day, and very enjoyable it was, too. Today, I suggest we tackle the full 12 mile Marlow Circular walk, but those preferring a shorter walk by all means do the Henley ending.
From Marlow railway station we walk through this pleasant Georgian town and its park as far as the River Thames, where we commence a relaxing riverside path walk. We then continue over meadows and fields and back beside the river again before crossing fields to the village of Aston, for today's first lunch pub option - The Flower Pot Hotel which enjoys a nice setting, food passable (but not a patch on former times). Your e.t.a here is 1-15 pm.
Those heading for Henley leave us in Aston. The rest of us continue on to the pretty village of Hambleden, a good picnic spot, with its excellent pub The Stag & Huntsman, for a late pub lunch, your e.t.a here being 1-50 pm.
After lunch, on the Circular walk, we head up into woods and walk through a series of wooded hills back to Marlow. We might find the last of this year's bluebell displays still in some of the woods. For tea options please see the Directions. Likewise, directions from Aston to Henley for an 8 mile or 8.7 mile walk are in the Walk Directions.
If we are fortunate with the weather today this should make for a very pleasant Spring walk.
Walk Directions are here: L=2.8
  • 12-May-22

    Just 7 on today's walk - perhaps the weather forecast put off our fair-weather friends. If so, they missed a treat - a lovely, varied walk in lush, green countryside. Yes - it did rain all day mostly of the drizzly sort , but no-one minded, given the need for rain in South-East-England.

    Most of the riverside paths were bordered by swathes of cow parsley which was everywhere. Bluebells, where seen, were now on their last legs - just a fuzz. Lots of other Spring flowers were still on show to enhance our enjoyment of the walk. Two geese were seen shepherding their new-born brood of ten goslings - all balls of fluff.

    On reaching Aston five stopped at the Flower Pot pub-hotel - food OK but limited veggie options - whilst two of us continued on to the Stag & Huntsman in Hambleden, to enjoy a superb lunch. Six of the group reassembled outside this pub, with the seventh having opted for the Henley finish after Aston. Leaving Hambleden the rain intensified for a while before reverting to the steady drizzle experienced in the morning. The woods and hills in the afternoon made an excellent contrast to the Thames riverside and meadow walking in the morning.

    We eventually arrived back in Marlow in time to enjoy refreshments in the Marlow Donkey pub and change

    into dry clothing before catching the 17-47 hrs train to Bourne End, with connections to Maidenhead then Paddington.

    Seldom has a walk in the rain been so enjoyable.

Book 2 Walk 8a - Marlow to Henley

Length: 13.5 km (8.4 miles) or 15.2 km (9.4 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10
London Paddington: 09-56 hrs Great Western service to Reading Ealing Broadway: 10-05 hrs
Arrive Maidenhead: 10-30 hrs Change trains
Leave Maidenhead: 10-34 hrs Great Western service from Maidenhead to Marlow
Arrive Marlow: 10-57 hrs
London Paddington: 09-43 hrs TFL Rail service to Reading Ealing Broadway: 09-51 hrs
Arrive Maidenhead: 10-24 hrs Change trains
Leave Maidenhead: 10-34 hrs Great Western service from Maidenhead to Marlow (as above)
Arrive Marlow: 10-57 hrs
Return: Henley-on-Thames to Paddington - changing at Twyford: 15-57, 16-27, 16-59, 17-36 and 18-07
Rail ticket: Seniors possessing London Councils Freedom Passes can travel on TFL Rail trains to Maidenhead using their "free" travel passes. You will then just require a day return from Maidenhead to - suggest - Henley-on-Thames (being the further of the two destination railway stations). For the rest of you, try a day return from London (or the edge of your travel card) to Henley-on-Thames - although if you are very unlucky and encounter and over zealous ticket inspector, you might be asked to purchase a single ticket from Maidenhead to Marlow.
Today's walk starts with a 2.3 km relaxing walk along the River Thames riverside path once we have left the centre of Marlow. At Temple lock we cross the river to continue along its southern side, in a westerly direction, to Hurley lock before heading inland to Hurley. We continue over a series of fields and water meadows to the village of Aston where we stop for lunch at the Flower Pot Hotel a homely pub.
After lunch we have a choice of routes from Aston to take us to Henley: either via Remenham Hill or via the river path (1 mile longer). We can decide which to take on the day.
Walk Directions are here: L=2.8.a
  • 17-Nov-21

    13 met outside Marlow railway station, most having travelled from Paddington on the TFL Rail service to Maidenhead. Unfortunately, 3 on the posted Great Western service from Paddington were delayed at Slough and missed the connection at Maidenhead for the Marlow service, and so continued on to Henley via Twyford and did the Henley via Hambleden walk. The walk author was one of the 3 and he took the opportunity to do a walk check. The 3 met up with us at the lunch pub in Aston. Finally, 1 walker was an hour behind us: she met us on the platform of Henley railway station at walk-end. So, if I've got my sums right, that makes 17 .

    We were more than lucky with the weather today. We enjoyed a glorious sunny late autumn day , in mild temperatures, with little if any breeze. The sun enhanced the last of this year's lovely leaf colour all day. The morning leg along the river then over river meadows was particularly pleasant.

    On arriving at the Flower Pot Hotel just after 1 pm, 4 of us opted to have lunch, to be joined later by the 3 from the Henley walk. The food was mediocre - and a far cry from earlier times when the pub specialised in game dishes and Sunday roasts, The fare on offer is now egg and chips, bangers and mash etc. No matter, what we had filled us up for the afternoon leg of the walk. Meanwhile, our sandwichers - having been told they could not eat their picnics in the large, empty rear garden of the pub, despite offering to buy drinks from the pub's bar - decided to move on. They picnicked at Hambleden Lock, before continuing their walk - some back to Marlow, and some along the river to Henley.

    The 4 "early" diners at the Flower Pot set out after lunch on the Remenham Hill route to Henley - and very enjoyable, too. More leaf colour, and some fine views along the way.

    On reaching Henley, 3 of us called in at the Chocolate Cafe to indulge in tea and cakes, to be joined by 2 sandwichers and the 3 Henley walkers later. 5 of us - plus the late walker - took the 15-57 service from Henley, and the 3 Henley walkers probably caught the 16-27 service.

    It was a lovely day's walking in glorious late autumn sunshine and in very good SWC company. I got home earlier than expected and in time to attend a church PCC meeting : part of me was hoping I would miss it !

Length: 21.3km (13.2 miles). Shorter options are available ending at Henley of 13.5km (8.4 miles) or 15.2km (9.4 miles), though these are obviously not suitable for those avoiding public transport

Catch the 9.57 train from Paddington (10.05 Ealing Broadway) to Marlow, arriving 10.57.

Meet just outside the station to do a socially-distanced meet up and split into groups of no more than six. You must be prepared to swop contact details with others in your group for contact tracing purposes

As usual, you must also bring the directions, map or GPX so you can be responsible for your own wayfinding if necessary.

I thought that those on the western side of London deserved to have a walk this week. For any that don't know it, this is a straighforward walk along the Thames Path in the morning, with a walk back through the woods in the afternoon.

One seasonal attraction on the last section of this walk is Homefield Wood: normally a rather dull stretch through a wood on a valley-bottom track, but at present you should find it full of wild flowers and butterflies, the latter hopefully including the magnificent silver-washed fritillary, one of our largest and most striking butterflies (I hoped to provide a link to a photo, but Blogger/Flickr has other ideas: Google it). In fact, if you only know this stretch of the walk in autumn or winter, you will be quite amazed.

Experience on recent walks is that everyone opts for a picnic lunch, but there are several pubs en route, as you will see from the walk description. The Flower Pot in Aston has no special information about its current status on its walk page. The Stag and Huntsman says anyone using it has to send them a contact number by email.

Hambleden also has a village shop that does takeaway teas in normal times, and Marlow, at the end of the walk, has lots of refreshment options.

The shorter options are to stay on the river or go over Remenham Hill to Henley: see the walk directions.

Trains back from Marlow are hourly, on the hour (00 past)

Trains back from Henley are at 01 and 31 past. If doing this ending, you would be best advised to buy a day return to Henley-on-Thames rather than to Marlow. T=2.8
  • 18-Jul-20

    I set off to do this walk, but became aware on the train that I was feeling a bit underpowered and “chesty”. Probably nothing, but from an abundance of caution I decided to not to join the group walk. An agonising decision because I was looking forward to it. A preview of the kind of awkward decisions that await us when the autumn cold and flu season starts... I hope the others - about a dozen, I hear .. enjoyed the walk and that someone will do a walk report.

  • 18-Jul-20

    For the reasons outlined in the last comment, I was NOT on this walk, but I received the following by text from one who was: “I think we were 10 on walk altogether. Emails and some phone numbers exchanged. Had lunch at Flower Pot. Long queues and indifferent food. New chef not working out. 3 walked to Henley.”

    Me again: I can add to the above report that five walked to Marlow, since they passed me in Homefield Wood, where I was in solo ultra-socially-distanced contemplation of a stunning array of butterflies (silver-washed fritillaries, white admiral, peacocks, red admiral, gatekeeper, large skipper, brimstone, small white) and gorgeous carpets of wild flowers. (One advantage of NOT being on the walk was that I had a long time to stand and look...) This really is a glorious place in mid July. Since only five SWC walkers passed me and three walked to Henley, the other two must have beamed up to their spaceship (or retraced their morning route to Marlow, I suppose).(Or maybe there were two in the party I did not know and they passed me without me realising it.)

    The weather was with sunny intervals followed by cloud followed by hot sun . A classic summer’s day

  • 18-Jul-20

    Walker didn’t join this walk through an abundance of caution. I didn’t join it through an abundance of incompetence, mistaking a Crossrail train on platform 12 for the appointed one on platform 14. Realised my mistake before it set off, but after the other had left, so rode it to Maidenhead and walked to Marlow from there, hoping to meet the rest of the group as they finished but recognising no one.

    Spent 45 minutes looking at the Marlow lock operating at more or less normal capacity, then took the 1700 home. Cookham and Marlow look much more alive and less locked down than London.

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

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

  • 12-Oct-19

    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 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

    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!

  • 12-Oct-19

    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....

Sat, 20-Apr-19 : Marlow to Henley-on-Thames 14
Mike A
Mike A
With the temperatures set to soar over the Easter weekend, It's been suggested that I post a short walk in the Henley-on-Thames area, so here it is :-)

Getting there

Catch the 9:57 Didcot Parkway train from London Paddington (10:05 from Ealing Broadway) to Maidenhead. Change trains here (4 minute changeover time) to catch the 10:38 train to Marlow (advertised on platform 5B at the time of writing). Arrive into Marlow at 11:01

Getting back

Catch a train at 53 minutes past the hour from Henley-on-Thames, changing at Twyford to catch the London bound train on the adjacent platform (unless you've travelled from the Reading area)


I suggest buying a day return to Henley-on-Thames and a single from Maidenhead to Marlow

Length 8.4 miles
Toughness 2/3 out of 10


This is a derivative of the Marlow Circular walk with lunch at the Flower Pot Hotel. After lunch (at bullet point 39 on the walk instructions) the walk continues to Henley rather than returning to Marlow.

During the morning section, walkers may stop at the tea kiosk located at Hurley lock for a late morning beverage. Here there are seats on a pleasant lawned area next to the river. For lunch, The Flowerpot Hotel has a large back garden with plenty of seating. There used to be an African Grey Parrot in the bar which I seem to remember chattered a lot...
There are plenty of opportunities to dawdle by the river during the walk and enjoy the higher temperatures and Old Father Thames and of course the opportunity to take afternoon tea and yummy cakes at The Chocolate Café in Henley which closes at 6:00pm.

Click the link below (ignore the Marlow circular reference) for all the details
  • 20-Apr-19

    Just a few notes on this walk:

    Glorious sunshine all day

    The Temple Foot bridge was closed ( see for details).

    Many thanks to Bill and everyone who helped to devise a diversion via Low Grounds Farm, East Lodge, Harleyford Golf Club, Medmenham, then following tjhe towing path to Hambledon Place before crossing the weir and then back tracking to the Flowerpot Hotel at Aston. This made for a longish morning (12km or about 7.5miles) with just 4km or 2.5 miles in the after lunch section, making the total walk about 16km.

    Hopefully the environment agency will be able to re-open Temple Bridge shortly, however if this is not possible an alternative lunch stop at the Dog and Badger in Medmenham could be considered with the afternoon leg along the towing path from Hambleden Lock to Henley cutting out the Flowerpot Hotel altogether.

    I thought I'd mention the diversion was particularly scenic and worth a walkover if you are in that neck of the woods.

    Bluebell buffs might like to know there is a stunning display in Oaken Grove just to the north of the A4155 about midway between Mill End and Henley, almost up to Dockey woods standard.

    Looking forward to others reports.

  • 20-Apr-19

    14 on this gloriously warm and sunny day.

    A kilometre (whatever one of those is) into the walk the front runners (or should that be front walkers?) encountered a notice on the path alongside the Thames which stated that the bridge at Temple Lock (our intended crossing point) was closed and indicating a diversion up a footpath away from the river. As we had no way of knowing how old the notice was we decided to press on in the knowledge that there was another footpath near to the lock that we could take if the footbridge was closed that would link up with what we assumed was the route of the diversion. After a mile or so (I'm far more comfortable with miles - I understand miles, and furlongs and chains and gnats and smidgens) we reached the lock and were told by the lock keeper that the bridge was indeed closed and that the recommended "diversion" involved backtracking to Marlow to cross the river there (which begs the question why the earlier notice didn't simply advise people to turn round and retrace their steps along the river bank: some things defy explanation).

    After debating whether we could persuade a passing boat to ferry across the river, we decided to trust our map reading skills and head away from the river to chart a path across country to cross at Hambledon Lock where we would re-join the published route. What the alternative route lacked in riverside walking it more that made up for in other delights. Quite footpaths, wonderful life-size driftwood sculptures of animals dotted round a golf course (including a pride of lions lazing in and around a tree stump that formed part of the ensemble), a delightful hidden semi-natural garden (sadly separated from the footpath by a high fence) squeezed in between sheer chalk cliffs on one side and a small stream that ran alongside the path, and a long, narrow, unlit brick tunnel that we had to pass through. And we had the added bonus of crossing over the weir at Hambledon Lock, which I always enjoy.

    On the other side we were treated to the sight of competitors in the junior section of the annual Devises to London Kayak race portaging their boats overland at speed from one side of the lock to the other while their supporters bellowed, well, support.

    From there it was a short walk to the Flower Pot Hotel where almost all of us gathered. Surprising, despite the fact it was a sunny bank holiday weekend it was not that busy and our food orders were speedily delivered.

    Three of us, having finished our meals, left ahead of the pack and, forsaking the river once again, took the Remenham Hill route into Henley. Our musing about what had happened to the walk poster (he had not turned up at the pub by the time that we left) were answered soon afterwards when one of our number received a text from him saying that he was enjoying tea in the Chocolate Café in Henley. Turns out he stopped to rest in a bust stop at Hambledon Lock and whilst there devised a cunning short cut which entailed catching a bus for the rest of the way. This has been noted in his record card.

    Shortly before we reached Henley discussion, which had ranged widely, turned once again to, well, suffice to say we were still technically in the Chilterns.

    We ended the afternoon by joining said walk poster in the Chocolate Café were we partook of tea and cake.

    All in all a very enjoyable day which was probably enhance by our unplanned detour.

    (Oh, and it almost goes without saying that there was a plethora of Red Kites. We also spotted the odd Buzzard, some duckings and goslings and a lone ring necked parakeet, heard skylarks sing, saw bluebells (still not at there best) and other wildflowers, and brimstones and orange tip butterflies).

Sat, 21-Jul-18 : Saturday Walk Marlow Circular 13
Marlow Circular T=2.8

Length: 13.4 miles/21.6km 4 out of 10

The morning is an easy walk along the Thames Path, followed by a hilly afternoon through woods back to Marlow. There are shortcuts that end in Henley.

Trains: Take the 09.57 Didcot train from Paddington (Ealing Broadway 1005), changing at Maidenhead 1034 to get the 1038 Marlow train from platform 5B. Return trains are hourly at xx06

Lunch: Lunch is at Flower Pot in Aston, with its large garden and food all day 9.9km (6.2 miles) into the walk

Tea: Various options with a pub by the station: The Marlow Donkey
  • 21-Jul-18

    13 on a hot muggy day which made the 12 miles, that most opted for, an arduous affair. Herds of detectorists and white deer were spotted in the fields leading to the Flowerpot. Still some flowers and butterflies too. Service in the Flowerpot seemed efficient given how busy it was, I didn't hear many whimpers of discontent. In the afternoon, Homefield Wood was teeming with wildflowers and butterflies (for the lepidopterally minded, big orange ones and little blue ones). Then back to the Marlow Donkey where some of us indulged in a half pint or so of selected beverages.

  • 22-Jul-18

    6 did the full mile Marlow Circular, 5 walking the regular 13.4 mile main walk, 1 doing the alternative ending so 14.8 miles.

  • 22-Jul-18

    Just in case anyone is doubting my maths, 'lucky'13 caught up with us at the Flower Pot.

  • 23-Jul-18

    As the representative of the lepidoterally-minded, I felt it my duty to visit Homefield Wood and check out your report. The big orange butterflies are silver-washed fritillaries: lovely to find another place where they flourish, so thanks. The blue ones were Common Blues, for once living up to their name. That so many flowers have defied the drought is a wonder.

Book 2 Walk 8 - Marlow Circular or Marlow to Henley-on-Thames
Main walk - Marlow Circular - 13.4 miles/21.6km
Alternative ending in Henley - 9.4 miles/15.2km

This walk follows a beautiful stretch of the River Thames in the morning, with a stop at Aston for lunch. In the afternoon you have a choice of routes from Hambledon Lock - either cross the river to return to Marlow via wooded hills, or for a shorter walk continue along the Thames Path to Henley-on-Thames.
Trains: Take the 9:57 train from London Paddington (10:05 Ealing Broadway) to Maidenhead arriving at 10:34 and head straight to platform 5B to catch the 10:38 to Marlow, arriving at 11:01.
Return trains from Marlow at xx06, from Henley at xx01. For the Henley ending you will need a day return to Henley, and possibly a single from Maidenhead to Marlow.
Lunch: The Flower Pot, Aston (01491 574721) is 6.1 miles / 9.8km into the walk and offers traditional pub food plus a selection of stuffed animals. Food is served all day on Saturdays. An earlier stop after just 3 miles/4.9km is Ye Old Bell Inn, Hurley (01628 825 881), which is rather more upmarket but this time of the year has a less formal outdoor Summer Kitchen - details here.
Both Marlow and Henley have plentiful tea options, check the walk notes for a few suggestions.
  • Anonymous

    I hope that the train is on time as 4 minutes to connect at Maidenhead is a bit of a worry

  • 27-Jun-17

    The connection is usually held - ie the Marlow branch departure is supposed to connect with the train from Paddington. Do be quick to cross to the other platform when you arrive at Maidenhead, though - the footbridge is towards the front of the train, from memory.

    If the Paddington train is very late, the connection may not be held: the Marlow branch is single track and so they can't keep the train waiting forever or the whole schedule for the rest of the day will be thrown out. But for a few minutes they would hold it, I am sure.

    Anyway (famous last words!!!!) we have always made the connection in the past. If not, you might look at how much a shared taxi would be. Or you could take along the instructions for the Maidenhead to Marlow walk (which is also very nice) as a back-up.....

  • 29-Jun-17

    Best not end your walk in Henley but instead do the circular walk. I believe the Henley regatta remains in full swing on Saturday and the town is likely to be more than a tad busy.

  • Anonymous

    I'm driving on Saturday to the marlow walk, so if it's changed @ the last minute due to train delay, could someone going on the walk post their mobile number so if no one turns up @ the station i'll know why. no smart phone or computer @ home, so it would help to have the info ahead of time.

    also, would the flower pot @ aston still be the lunch pub if you switch to the maidenhead walk?

  • 29-Jun-17

    If you switched to the Maidenhead walk you would have lunch in Cookham

  • 30-Jun-17

    I'm also driving to Marlow, so at least one companion provided.

  • Anonymous

    14 on this walk hoping to have a nice day with a short walk - we all opted to finish at Henley - with a pleasant flat stroll to finish 

    The weather was warm breezy grey until late when the sun came out

    Before I go on - this report is long because our day was very long and I have written this whilst on the train

    The blazered brigade and the fascinatord females ( sometimes not much more ) were in throngs around Henley so the walk was far from pleasant ( more of a queue) for the last 2 Ks but great from a voyeurs 'point of view' with lots of the young enjoying on trend food and drink and chatting animatedly whilst rowers sliced through the very calm Thames being chased by a blazered umpire and film crew in a boat with an engine - good lord those rowers were fast.

    Whilst we watched the women's coxless 4 teams ( UK under 23 against Nottingham Uni ) lining up before the off one of the women in our group noted that they were 'very fit' . The men demurred knowing that should they make a similar comment then castigation opprobrium, contempt etc etc.

    But I am getting ahead of myself here as before all this happened we walked out of Marlow on flat lands by the Thames to The Flower Pot for lunch and nare saw a soul on or by the river .

    Lunch at the Flower Pot was so so though the man who had steak and kidney pudding expressed himself delighted with his choice.  The waiter come pot boy said that they could seat 500 and today was quiet - say 100 sitting in the garden drinkin and eatin. Thus we were served quickly and fairly efficiently though you needed to keep your ears open for your number or you may miss it and the waiter would take your meal back in again.

    After lunch the walking was hard but very stimulating, visually more varied than any previous walk that I have been on I suspect. i

    Cake and tea in The Chocolate Gallery revived 8 of us before our major travail of the day. 

    So fascinators off to those 6 who didn’t bother stopping for tea and presumably got home without any delays.

    Bloody trains

    Suffice to say a taxi for 8 of us from Twyford to Reading and then a very slow train to Waterloo

    Arrived back in Waterloo nearer 8 than 7 having finished the walk around 15.30

    For all that, good fun and company - thanks fellow wanderers.

    I Strain

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 Henley, 3.6km (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

  • 31-Jul-16

    Difficult to say exactly but I think 16 on this walk: 13 at the start and at least three late starters. The weather was 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.

Mike A

Marlow to Henley

The Thames Path with a gentle hill in option 1 and Thames Valley meadow land.

Book 2 Walk 8

Length : 16 km or 10 miles

Toughness : 3 out of 10

Getting there : Catch the 9:57 am train from London Paddington to Marlow changing at Maidenhead. (Don't forget that Baker Street tube trains are not stopping at Paddington until mid-August)
FAQ: Does the train stop at Ealing Broadway? Yes it does departing 10:05 am

Meeting point : Marlow Station at 11:01

Tickets : There is a Thames Branches Day Ranger for £12-90 with a rail card (which would allow you to travel back via Reading), otherwise I'd suggest a cheap day return to Henley-on-Thames and be prepared to pay for a single from Maidenhead to Marlow

Brief Description

I had hoped to post a Dover to Deal walk, but the trains to that neck of the woods are on the fritz and the replacement bus journeys a wee bit too long.
Anyhow, as it looks like a right scorcher on Wednesday, here's a gentle stroll in the Thames Valley with Old Father Thames providing a pleasant backdrop.
As usual you may find full details here where I've posted option 2 (Marlow to Henley).
This option has two possibilities.

  1. Via Remenham Hill with Lunch at the Flower Pot
  2. Via the River Path with Lunch at the Stag and Huntsman in Hambleden

I suggest walkers decide which option best suits the majority at Marlow Station

Suggested Lunch stops

Flower Pot Country Inn in Aston t: 01491 574721
The Stag and Huntsman in Hambeledon t: 01491 571227

Suggested Tea stop

The ever popular Chocolate Theatre Café in Henley t:01491 411 412


OS Explorer : 171 and 172

Return train times

Trains return from Henley-on-Thames to Paddington at the following times ...
16:20 | 17:09 | 17:46* | 18:17 * via Reading
You will need to change at Twyford
  • Marion

    At last a sensible walk avoiding southern region trains. Intend going from Ealing Broadway.

  • Anonymous

    Don't temp fate Marion - FGW (now GWR)don't have the best claim for punctuality and reliability!

  • Anonymous

    Hope to go jfk

  • Marion

    On the subject of tempting fate Ive just returned from Weymouth using South West trains £16 fare and spent 4 hours getting there courtesy of signal failure at Basingstoke. 6 hours getting back as the signalling problems are still ongoing and coincided with a drunken brawl involving police action. No connecting trains at Clapham Junction resulted in taxis being required to get home and insufficient numbers of cabs being available to the cab-line service due to so many passengers being stranded throughout the south west network. Got home eventually at 3.30am!!! Check your homeward service on-line before staying late for drinks and supper after our walks as there are ongoing engineering problems with a number of train companies currently.

  • 20-Jul-16

    Yes, I went to Eastbourne yesterday and unwisely relied on the last train home. Total meltdown. The train was delayed, no staff available to tell us why and when some appeared they more or less shrugged. Complete disorder. Finally a driver turned up and took us back to London but since we would arrive after the last tube, I changed at Clapham Junction hoping for a Waterloo train. An extraordinary scene there with all the mainline Waterloo trains severely late due to the problem Marion describes and signal delays at Feltham affecting local trains. I eventually got home at 2am by night bus.

  • Anonymous

    8 of the train with one Walker tempting two others to join. One explained he had to drive the train back to Maidenhead and the other, although a walker, explained she lived in Marlow and had other tasks to attend to. Nice try C!

    Weather started slightly overcast developing into the forecast scorcher

    Two were tempted into Burgers in Marlow High Street and all set forth to the Flower Pot. One dallied at Hurley lock for a welcome cuppa and caught up with most others at the Flower Pot. The Pub sports a two year old African Grey Parrot, which whistles a number of tunes (and words) learnt of the locals. It also has a great garden (the Pub that is).

    The heat continued to build, but walkers refrained from throwing themselves in the Thames and three staggered into the "Angel on the Bridge" at Henley for a welcome cuppa/Brakespeares finest.

    I'm happy to report the trains ran on time and no tracks melted.

    A real sizzler of a day though.

  • Anonymous

    Fabulous weather and lovely stretch of the Thames jfk

Henley to Marlow via Hambleden

Length 10 miles, 3 out of 10

The first part of the walk is from Henley via Hambleden Circular here, and the second part from the Marlow circular here. You are advised to use the download instructions, especially for pre 2011 editions of the book. The Marlow Circular has the overall instructions, but essentially Henley to get you to the Stag & Huntsman, and Marlow after that.

Travel Get the 09:41 from Paddington (0949 Ealing Broadway) Oxford Train. Change at Twyford (arr 1039) for the Henley train 10:50 arriving 11.02. There is an 0957 train via Reading, which involves getting a train back to Twyford from Reading but it has a higher fare. Buy a return to Henley which should be OK from Marlow, though you may have to buy a single from Marlow to Maidenhead.
Return trains from Marlow are xx:06 changing at Maidenhead.

Lunch The Stag & Huntsman in Hambleden (food until 2.30pm)

Tea As well as the places in the instructions, there is a pub right by the station - The Marlow Donkey - which also does food.


  • David Colver

    Henley finds much favour with our valiant walk posters.

  • 17-Feb-16


    I would like you explain me how work this group, how many people usually go,...


  • 17-Feb-16

    All is explained here

    How many people usually go? It varies. 5 to15 is a good bet, but it can be less or more. None of us ever know till we turn up. Good weather helps numbers, of course, but I can't count the number of times I have set out on a day of wind and rain and thought "I will be the only one on this walk" only to find a dozen people waiting on the platform.

  • 24-Feb-16

    Apparently only two people did this walk. 2

T=2.8.b Book 2 Walk 8b - Henley to Marlow
Length: 16.2km (10 miles) or 14.1km (8.8 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10 - three short but steep climbs

9.42 train from Paddington (9.50 Ealing Broadway) to Twyford, changing there (arrive 10.40, depart 10.50) for Henley, arriving 11.02

Buy a day return to Henley-on-Thames, which will usually be accepted for return from Marlow.

Walk directions - you will need both Book 2 walk 7 - click here - and Book 2 walk 8 - click here

This composite walk starts with the morning of Book 2, walk 7 Henley via Hambleden - a pleasant route along the banks of the Thames and over a low range of wooded hill which you follow as far as lunch in the cosy Stag and Huntsman in Hambleden.

There is a 2.1km/1.2 mile short cut on this route if you want to take it - this is reduces the total walk length to 14.1km/8.8 miles

The Stag & Huntstman is quite a busy and popular pub, so it is not a bad idea to ring and book a table when you set out. (We have always managed to squeeze into it somehow, however.) You should get there about 1pm, or 12.30pm if you take the short cut.

In the afternoon you could of course continue with walk 7 back to Henley (4.3 miles after lunch), but a nicely contrasting route is to switch to Book 2 Walk 8 Marlow Circular from point [6] onwards for a five mile walk across the wooded hills to Marlow, which has lots of cheerful tea options.

Trains back from Marlow are at 06 past the hour.
  • Anonymous

    6 on this walk and the weather=grey-but-dry

    We took the easterly side of the river (river on our left) out of Henley to avoid the swamp land on the other side and it was mainly a tarmac surface all the way in the morning . The weir that we crossed on route is excellent but after discussing it amongst ourselves we realised that no one knew why it exists - something to Google when we got back. Just looked it up Jerome K Jerome used to live nearby as did his newsagent Mr W H Smith

    Before lunch in Hambledon we wandered around a covered Christmas market in the school hall - we all had a nose but none of us put our hands in our pockets. The home made gifts seemed to lack inspiration and the free range meat was far more expensive than from

    Lunch was had by all 6 in The Stag and Huntsman with two of us enjoying an excellent stuffed breast of pheasant.

    Rumour has it that one of the walkers commented shortly after lunch how surprisingly unmuddy the day was so that put the carbosh on such pleasant walking surfaces .

    The afternoon was horrendously slippery and muddy

    There was a lot of banging going on (country sports?) as we approached Heath Wood but thankfully it was all finished by the time that we got there with just a lot of people mainly wearing tweed with guns wandering off looking sheepish and piles of dead birds - carnage. Seeing as I had had pheasant for lunch my feelings were mixed.

    The 3 steep hills became 4 due to us not paying attention to the directions and a total walk of 9.6 miles so tea in Marlow was well deserved but somewhat disappointing due to slow service meaning that we had to rush it - only one train an hour and we didn't want to miss it

    Lovely crowd and lovely day

Sat, 03-Oct-15 : Marlow Circular 14
Marlow Circular
TOCW2 walk 8, 21.6km, 13.4 miles, 3 out of 10.

This walk follows the Thames path for the first 8km (5 miles), passing the ancient village of Hurley, little changed since the days when it was a Benedictine Abbey. Lunch is in Aston or Hambleden, both quaint riverside villages. By contrast, the afternoon takes you up over the wooded hills that frame the Thames Valley, and then down into the well-preserved town of Marlow for tea.

For those wanting a shorter walk after lunch, you can continue on the Thames path to Henley.

Get the 0957 Oxford train from Paddington (Ealing Broadway 1005) changing at Maidenhead (1034) to get the Marlow train at 1038 from platform 1. This is a shuttle service, so will almost certainly wait if the train is late. It also changes direction at Bourne End. Return to Marlow.

Return trains are hourly at xx06.

The Flowerpot in Aston after 6 miles, which has a wide choice, or the popular Stag & Huntsman (lunch till 2.30pm) after 8.2 miles in Hambledon.

Most likely The George & Dragon Inn as the teashops will probably be closed. It is 610 metres to the station from here.

You are recommended to use the download directions instead of pre 2011 editions of the book.


  • Billy Whizz

    A total of 14 today. This includes one late catcher-upperer and two mid-walk divergers. cloudy warm later with glimpses of sun Flowerpot ok. Cake sale in Hambleden. Dry underfoot, no probs. Lots of pheasant in the woods.