Sunday 10th April 2011
Toilets: Opposite Henley-on-Thames station; The Flower Pot Hotel, Aston; Tea shop at Hurley Lock; Waiting room at Maidenhead station (change here between Marlow and London Paddington).
It was one of the hottest days of the year so far, so we made the most of it. It was the first day I’d worn sun cream this year. Upon arriving, we took a short detour into town to get some ice cream, and then started walking along the river. It was an absolutely beautiful day, and lots of people were out and about in boats.
As with last time, there’s nothing much to say about navigation. Most of the path is very obvious, and the other bits are signposted. You could probably do the whole thing without a map.
We passed by Temple Island. Nobody lives in the building; it’s a folly which is available for hire during the Henley Regatta.
Just after Hambleden Lock with its huge weir, we stopped for a picturesque lunch break and then continued through the tiny hamlet of Aston, where we managed to sneak in to The Flower Pot Hotel’s pub to use the toilet. That’s one problem with Thames walks: there are so many people around that you can’t just go behind a tree. Around Aston there’s also a water point marked on the map, but we couldn’t find one.
More picturesque walking followed.
There are some toilets about fifty metres before the tea garden at Hurley Lock, in a green building that’s easily missed.
Around Temple Lock the path switches sides frequently and we went over three bridges. Just before Marlow we stopped for a long rest in front of Court Garden House, where everyone was out enjoying the weather.
The difficulty rating for this walk must surely be one out of ten, but it got me thinking about something Gayle and Mick mentioned to me last year: totally flat walks can be really hard on the knees, because you’re making the same repetitive action for hours on end. It’s better to get a bit more variety, or go slightly up or downhill. My knees were surprisingly achy after this seemingly easy walk.