Taking a walk around the riverside town of Marlow
PUBLISHED: 11:38 18 July 2014 | UPDATED: 11:42 18 July 2014
© Steve Davison
Steve Davison leads the way on this 5½ mile walk, with shorter option, exploring the rolling countryside around the picturesque riverside town of Marlow in Buckinghamshire
OS Grid ref: SU855865
Most famous for: Home of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley; TS Elliot lived in West Street; magnificent Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave is among the modern day residents
Landmarks: The suspension bridge; The Hand & Flowers, first gastro pub to gain two Michelin Stars
Start/finish: pay and display car park along Pound Lane, Marlow; grid ref SU848862 (could also start from Marlow train station)
Map: OS Explorer 172
Distance: 5½ miles (8.7km) or 3¼ miles (5.2km)
Terrain: stiles and gates, some climbs, field paths, tracks and country lanes
Time: 2½ or 1½ hours
Refreshments: Marlow – good choice of pubs, cafes and shops; Bovingdon Green – The Royal Oak (01628 488611); Temple Lock – tea garden
Once a Saxon market town, Marlow has always been a prosperous place and during the 18th and 19th centuries became a fashionable place to live. Famous residents have included the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife, Mary Shelley - famed for writing Frankenstein; the couple lived for a time at Albion House in West Street. A century later, TS Eliot lived in same street at Number 31 (now a restaurant). Also in West Street is Remnantz, this was once the original home of the Royal Military College for 10 years before it moved to Sandhurst in 1812.
The town’s most famous landmark is the bridge; there’s been a bridge across the River Thames here since about 1227. The present suspension bridge was built around 1830 by William Tierney Clark who also designed suspension bridges at Hammersmith, Shoreham and, the largest and most famous, the Széchenyi Bridge over the River Danube at Budapest. Overlooking the bridge in Marlow is All Saints Church with its tall, slender spire rising 170 feet; the church was built in 1835, replacing an earlier 12th century building.
1 (SU848862) – Before starting the walk you have to decide between the shorter and longer route:
Shorter route: from the car park turn left along Pound Lane and shortly fork left along Lower Pound Lane (byway) for 700m to pass Pens Place (private house). Go past a gate and keep ahead along the enclosed path to later reach a surfaced lane and keep ahead, now continue from Point 4.
Longer route: from the car park head left for a few metres and turn right to cross the road and head north along the surfaced path between brick walls to reach West Street. To see the house where Shelley and his wife lived, turn left for 100m, passing Remnantz on the way. However, we turn right and then left along Oxford Road for 450m before going right along Queens Road. Just before the Duke of Cambridge pub turn left and at the end continue along the enclosed path with allotments to the right and start climbing, later the path levels out between fields. On reaching a gravel track beside a house turn left and fork right at the split to join the road opposite The Royal Oak.
2 (SU835870) – Turn right along the verge and soon go left to cross over and follow the road for Bovingdon Green. At the end go right and then fork left along the gravel track and at the end of the garden on the left turn left beside a footpath sign and follow an enclosed path with an open field to the right, continue as it turns to head south-west for 600m. Descend through the trees to a cross-path junction and turn left, shortly fork right at the split following an enclosed path gently downhill. Pass just left of the barn and continue down the valley towards the houses. Continue straight on and turn left along the lane to a junction with the A4155.
3 (SU839859) – Turn right along Henley Road and at the Hare and Hounds go left across the road and follow surfaced Harleyford Lane slightly downhill for just over ½ mile to reach a junction at East Lodge. Turn left and at Low Grounds Farm take the path between the hedge and fence bypassing the buildings and then continue along the surfaced track to a right-hand bend (here the shorter walk joins from the left).
4 (SU836848) – Go right (straight on if following the shorter walk) and follow the lane to reach the River Thames opposite Temple Island. During the late 18th century the island was site of Temple Mills, where goods from copper and brass were manufactured; the mills have now been replaced by private housing. From here you can visit Temple Lock and tea garden by turning right along the surfaced track to the right for 175m.
However, the onward route goes left along the Thames Path for slightly under 1½ miles following the River Thames downstream to Marlow. On the way there is a beautiful view of Bisham’s All Saints Church on the opposite (Berkshire) bank. On nearing Marlow keep ahead along the riverside path, with the 18th century Georgian Court Garden House and Higginson Park over to the left. The house was designed by one Dr Battie, a physician who specialised in nervous diseases and it is said that he originally forgot to put in a staircase, maybe this is where the expression ‘batty’ originated.
At the suspension bridge go left and then right up the steps to join the road with the All Saints Church opposite. Turn left away from the river, on the right is a statue in memory of Charles Frohman, a famous theatrical impresario, who went down with the RMS Lusitania in 1915. Turn left at the mini-roundabout to shortly reach the car park on the left.
To find out more about Steve, including information on walking books, visit: www.steve-davison.co.uk