Walk around Cookham and Marlow
PUBLISHED: 14:38 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:38 18 December 2017
Follow Steve Davison as he heads from Cookham to Marlow before catching the train back to the starting point
This walk is a linear affair starting at Cookham in Berkshire and ending at Marlow in Buckinghamshire, using the train to give the feet a rest and get back to Cookham.
The famous English painter Sir Stanley Spencer spent most of his life in Cookham and used scenes from the village as the background to many of his paintings; one of his most famous, The Resurrection, was set in the village churchyard. To learn more about the painter visit the Stanley Spencer Gallery (01628 471885). Further afield, more of Stanley’s work can be seen at the Sandham Memorial Chapel at Burghclere (Hampshire) where he painted a set of murals, considered to be ‘one of the most remarkable artistic achievements of English Painting’, showing scenes from everyday military life, culminating in the Resurrection of the Soldiers.
Next up is the Holy Trinity Church; dating from Norman times, the church houses a copy of Sir Stanley Spencer’s, The Last Supper. From here we follow the Thames Path National Trail upstream through meadows before crossing the river into Buckinghamshire and continuing, to arrive at Marlow.
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, the poet TS Eliot lived in the same street. The town was also the original home of the Royal Military College for 10 years before it moved to Sandhurst in 1812.
Marlow’s most famous landmark is William Tierney Clark’s early 19th century suspension bridge spanning the River Thames; Clark also designed suspension bridges at Hammersmith, Shoreham and, the largest and most famous, the Széchenyi Bridge over the Danube at Budapest. Overlooking the bridge is All Saints Church with its tall, slender spire rising 170 feet; the church was built in 1835, replacing a much earlier building.
From the church the final leg of the walk passes a statue in memory of Charles Frohman, a theatrical impresario who went down with the RMS Lusitania in 1915, before heading to the railway station for trains back to Cookham.
• Start/finish: Start at Cookham railway station (SU886850); finish at Marlow railway station (SU855865), then train back
• Map: OS Explorer 172
• Distance: 5.5 miles (8.8km)
• Terrain: fairly level, some gates, paths and tracks, sections of road
• Time: 2.5 hours
• Refreshments: lots of choices in Cookham and Marlow
1 (SU886850) – Exit Cookham Station to reach Lower Road, cross over and turn right downhill. At the roundabout keep straight on, still following the pavement on the left, soon passing The Old Swan Uppers pub, then The White Oak pub. Cross the road via the zebra crossing and continue along the right-hand pavement, keeping ahead at the roundabout. Soon, fork slightly right to follow the surfaced walkway ahead for 350m, crossing a bridge; over to the left is a car park and then The Crown pub. Go straight on past the War Memorial to reach a T-junction beside the Stanley Spencer Gallery on the right.
2 (SU897853) – Turn left, crossing via the traffic island, and follow the A4094 towards Bourne End. Keep left at the junction – across the road is the Tarry Stone – and shortly fork left along Church Gate. Go through the gate and follow the surfaced path through the churchyard, with the Holy Trinity Church on the right; the walk is now following the Thames Path. On reaching the river turn left, soon passing a boating club. Continue along the riverside path through the meadows for three quarters of a mile. Go through a kissing gate, pass under the railway bridge and immediately go up the steps to cross the river via the railway bridge.
3 (SU892870) – Continue along the Thames Path towards Bourne End. Keep ahead past the marina, with the river on the left. Keep to the riverside path and then along the track, past houses to reach an open field. Go through the gate ahead and follow the path through several fields for slightly over one and three quarter miles. Pass under the road bridge (A404) and continue beside the river for 175m before following the Thames Path through the park to join Mill Road. Turn left, following the road as it swings right; shortly on the left a signed path to Marlow Lock. To continue the walk go straight on along the road, still following the Thames Path, keeping to the road as it swings right. Just after passing Thamesfield Gardens on the right, turn left along the enclosed path to reach St Peter’s Street.
4 (SU852862) – Turn right for 5m to a Thames Path sign and turn left along the enclosed path before heading through the churchyard with All Saints Church over to the left. On leaving the churchyard turn left to the main road; a short walk to the left is the suspension bridge and a great view. Turn right along the High Street passing the small green with statue and War Memorial to reach a double mini roundabout. Straight on leads along Marlow’s bustling High Street, we turn right along Station Road for 450m to a cross junction with Glade Road (left) and Lock Road (right). Here, fork half-right along Station Approach to reach the railway station for trains back to Cookham.
• The ultimate Berkshire walking guide - With the North Wessex Downs, Windsor’s Long Walk and a whole host of beautiful towns and villages, Berkshire is an amazing place for a stroll