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
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. Tea
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
, then 22.16), 24
past from Henley