Monday, August 12, 2013

Day 9: Marlow to Henley-on-Thames

Section 1
Marlow to Hurley
Now that my journey is taking me further West I have to travel from Paddington. When I was buying my ticket to Marlow and a return from Henley, I was told that the walkers normally buy a return from the furthest place they are walking to rather than two single tickets as it works out much cheaper. Ingenious - why hadn't I realised that before- quite obvious really. Today's walk is around 9 miles so I can take my time.

The graveyard of All Saints Church comes right down to the edge of the riverbank with the solid Norman tower being a feature of Marlow's skyline.
Next to the bridge on the other side of the river is the Compleat Angler Hotel named after Walton's 17th cent book on angling.
This bridge is the Marlow suspension bridge built in 1832. It was designed byWilliam Tierney Clark who also designed the magnificent Hammersmith Bridge.

It is not possible to walk under the bridge so around it I must go and continue the walk along the North side of the river.

The path runs alongside Higginson Park which has a nice little cafe, making it a good stopping place. Don't like to miss out on a toilet stop!

In front of the community building is this statue celebrating Sir Steve Redgrave who won 5 consecutive gold rowing medals. I think it is quite unusual to have a statue erected that honours  a living person.

This is the 17th cent tower of Bisham Church

The land here was once an osiery (a plantation of willows for basket making) owned by Bisham Abbey. It is now a small nature reserve belonging to the River Thames Society,a charity, which looks after the Thames from the source to the sea.

This is Temple Lock. The name is a reminder that the Knights Templar once lived in Bisham Abbey a little downstream from here.

The Temple footbridge goes across the Thames on the line of the ferry, solving one of the Thames Path's crossing problems. The graceful 46m wooden arch was opened in 1989, making it possible to cross from the Berkshire to the Buckinghamshire bank for the first time since the ferry service stopped in 1953. It is the longest hardwood bridge in Britain.

This rustic bridge takes you onto the Hurley lock island. The island has a number of picnic tables and grassy lawns where many families were enjoying the pleasant surroundings..


Taking the bridge back over the river, I left the path for a short time to look at the village of Hurley.

The church, restored in 1852 was consecrated in 1086 when it was a chapel of the Benedictine Manastey of Our lady. There are some very old gravestones in the small cemetary next to the church.

In the church are  monuments to two members of the Lovelace family erected in 1605. The left hand figure is Richard Lovelace who was lieutenant of the county of Berkshire. He lived from1542 to 1601. On the right hand side is Sir Richard Lovelace 1565-1634. He was knighted in 1599 for his efforts in the wars against the Irish. He was made the 1st Lord Lovelace of Hurley by Charles I in 1627.

Passing this row of Church cottages with a very quaint looking post office at one end you come to Ye Olde Bell.

Ye Olde Bell is claimed to be the country's oldest hostelry dating back to 1135. Originally it was a hospice for visitors to the Benedictine Priory. Much of the remaining building now, can only be dated back to the 15th cent.
The other pub in the village also looks very inviting from the outside.

Making my way back to the river I pass one of Hurley's tithe barns which has now been converted into a house.


  1. I can see some churchs I will be visiting at some time. Bisham Abbey is Huge if it is the one I see from the A404 to High Wycombe

  2. This walk just gets better and better. The old houses and beautiful bridges are lovely and the ancient historic churches a wonder.

  3. We are well out of the London I know. Redgrave? I had to check if he was a relation of 'the' Redgraves and I don't see any mention of a connection. The timber bridge is just wonderful. Knights Templer. Something is the back of my mind about them.

  4. Glorious picture serious! looks a wonderful tour narrated beautifully through this wonderful post.


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