Length of route:
8.7 miles (13.9km)
Leander Rowing Club, White Hill Road Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2LP.
If you want to park at the Henley-on-Thames Train Station head to RG9 1AY.
Walking and cycling
OS Explorer Maps – Chiltern Hills West 171 & Chiltern Hills East 172
Download our OS MapFinder app and record your route
Use OS getamap and view, print or share the route http://www.getamap.ordnancesurveyleisure.co.uk/?key=aIZSyPF5JX2BsaMUpa7_yw2
This particular trail starts in the mecca of modern rowing; Henley-on-Thames, home to Henley Royal Regatta and some of the most prestigious rowing clubs in the world. It is also one of the prettiest, picturesque stretches of river I have encountered and whether you choose to walk, run or cycle it, there are some outstanding views.
The Thames Path starts in the Cotswolds and finishes by the Thames Barrier in Greenwich covering an enormous 184 miles altogether! This is a small section of the route, starting in Henley and finishing in Marlow. It is gently undulating and has no steep hills, so it will suit walkers of every level. You can either walk there and back or when you reach Marlow you can hop on the train for a quick trip back to Henley. Henley itself is a fantastic town, whether you tour the River & Rowing Museum, look for the Maharajah’s Well or satisfy a sweet tooth at Little Nellies Sweet Shop. It also has an array of riverside pubs that have a range of local tipple’s to quench your thirst. I would recommend parking at the Henley-on-Thames Train Station, as it is one of the only places you can park for longer than three hours and it is close to the start of the walk. It charges Monday to Sunday, 24 hours, and the maximum charge is £4.50 per day.
Start on the side of the river where the infamous Leander Rowing Club is situated and as you begin your walk you will pass some jetties protruding into the water. You will progress on to a tow path and pass Remenham Rowing club on your right. After about a mile and a half when you look across the river you will see Temple Island in all its splendour proudly displaying the beautiful etruscan style folly.
As you follow the river path there will be a long, large curve veering around to the right. Then you will walk past Aston village to your right and Hambleden to your left. Hambledon is worth a peruse and you can cross the river safely at the lock. It has been featured in many famous films such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Sleepy Hollow and the recent remake of The Avengers due to its beautiful scenery and secluded location. The Stag and Huntsman pub is full of local charm and is the perfect place half way along to have some food or liquid refreshment. By taking a map on your trip you could explore the other small villages that run parallel to the trail or extend your route past Marlow. On a sunny day, if you don’t want to stop until you reach Marlow, make sure you take plenty of fluids and some sun protection as there is little shade along the way.
As you continue you will pass through historic Hurley and you know you are approaching Marlow when you set your sights on Bisham Church on the opposite side of the river. When you get to Higginson Park and can see the suspension bridge you have completed the route and from here you can either explore Marlow town centre or head back to Henley. Marlow is similar to Henley with an array of boutiques and restaurants and I would recommend spending some time discovering its delights. Nestled on West Street in the heart of Marlow is the Michelin Star pub restaurant: The Hand and Flowers, perfect if you fancy a real treat at the end of your walk. It also has its fair share of famous residents including Heston Blumenthal, Steve Redgrave and Robbie Williams, so keep an eye out as you walk through, you never know who you might bump into!