Walk 3128 - printer friendly version
Henley-on-Thames, Aston and Hambleden Walk
Author - Peter Smyly
Length - 8.0 miles / 13 km
Ascent - 200 feet / 61 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference SU763822
Lat 51.53356 + Long -0.9013805
Postcode RG9 1NP (approx. location only)
No marks for originality with the route choice but this is my own perspective on it. Weather conditions make a difference as to how you perceive places and this walk was done on a very hot day with temperatures of around 29 degrees centigrade in August. A bit too hot maybe, but it did mean that the scenery was seen at its vivid best with sunlight sometimes seen sparkling on the water of the River Thames and some people were out and about cruising in boats and canoeing down the river. My favourite bit of the walk was the area around Hambleden Lock and the marina with its footbridge over the river, weir and pretty watermill. The route follows sections of the Chiltern Way and the Thames Path. Route-finding is straightforward and the walk is mostly on the level. The main route is a circular one with an extra walk of a mile further north to visit the pretty village of Hambleden. This is also red kite country. Look out for these graceful birds soaring above the tree tops during some of the quieter rural parts of the walk.
From the railway station at Henley-on-Thames, turn right down Station Road as far as the river and turn left towards Henley Bridge. Cross over to the other side of the road, cross the bridge and turn left down Remenham Lane. Look out for a signed public footpath on the right between hedges and turn right here across Wilminster Park. Signs for the Chiltern Way Berkshire Loop appear at points of possible uncertainty as the route follows across fields, through woods and along country lanes and tracks to reach the hamlet of Aston where a left turn down a country lane leads to the River Thames. Turn left and follow part of the Thames Path in parallel to the river to reach Hambleden Lock. You could, of course, decide that this spot is so pleasant you want to stop around here and later conclude the walk back to Henley along by the Thames without doing the extra 'there and back' to include Hambleden village.
If continuing the route, cross the footbridge over the weir and Hambleden village is reached by following the road to the north, along a pavement to begin with and then a signed public footpath across fields with the church at Hambleden seen ahead among trees. The route reveals wooded hills either side of the broad flat valley. The route back can be varied slightly by following the road away from the village centre to the car park and then taking the next public footpath on the right which re-joins the road back to Mill End.
On returning to Hambleden Lock, you may need to wait to cross if boats are passing through. From the lock back to Henley, following the Thames Path past Temple Island, allow about an hour.
Note - the reference to a Berkshire Loop may seem a little surprising for a walk that starts and ends in Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire and visits the village of Hambleden in Buckinghamshire but Remenham Place, on the east bank of the Thames, is in Berkshire whereas Henley-on-Thames is in Oxfordshire.