The Walking Englishman Walks The Thames Path

A personal record of my walk of the Thames Path National Trail with a written journal and with photographs. Tracklogs for GPS units and for use with Google Earth are available for download for each stage.

Journal, Photographs and Download Files

Stage 8: Hurley to Old Windsor
Google Maps Open Source Maps

Statistics and Files
Start: Hurley Finish: Old Windsor Distance: 20.9 miles (33.7 km)
Time: 7-10 hours Climbing: N/A Rating: Hard
GPX Route File Google Earth File About Windsor
Start: Hurley Finish: Old Windsor
Distance: 20.9 miles (33.7 km) Time: 7-10 hours
Climbing: N/A Rating: Hard
GPX Route File Google Earth File
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (1:25,000)

The Walk:

All Saints Church, BishamAll Saints Church, Bisham
River Thames at MarlowRiver Thames at Marlow

I made a very early start to a very long day, leaving my accommodation in the dark, passing Temple Lock and arriving opposite the 12th century medieval church of All Saints near Bisham before six o'clock in the morning. Here, I was already two miles into the walk of twenty one miles to Old Windsor, the length of my day being reason of staying at my cousin Robbie's house in the evening. I looked forward to that but in the meantime I had a lot of walking to do. I stood for a moment and admired All Saints Church, Bisham. It is very impressive. On resumption of my walk, realising I had a long way to go, I maintained a good pace, soon completing the short half mile to reach the town of Marlow.

Marlow Suspension BridgeMarlow Suspension Bridge
All Saints Church, MarlowAll Saints Church, Marlow

Here I forced myself to stop again, the reason being to admire Marlow Suspension Bridge. It is a sight to see, being built between 1829 and 1832 to replace a wooden bridge which was a little further downstream until its collapse in 1828. Towering on elevated ground next to the bridge is All Saints Church which dominated the view on my approach to Marlow. From Marlow the Thames Path shared with Shakespeare's Way which meant I was enjoying walking a stretch of yet another long distance path. I liked that, adding another one to my list. Along this part of the walk I met plenty of people out in the early morning, leisurely walking the path on their Bank Holiday Monday.

Easiest way to eat the grassEasiest way to eat the grass
Orderly line of Cygnets cruising the ThamesOrderly line of Cygnets cruising the Thames

At six miles into my day I arrived in Bourne End where I crossed from north side to south side of the river by way of a railway bridge. Halfway across I was obliged to stop and let a group of five ladies pass me. They were out on a jogging morning. Immediately after stepping down from the bridge I came to a small herd of cows grazing on the grass strip between Thames Path and river. All but one that is, this cow being in the river itself and feeding from in the water. This way it did not have to bend down to eat the delicious grass! From Bourne End I soon arrived in the village of Cookham where I vainly sought out a shop or cafe. Having set off very early and in doing so forgoing breakfast I was now hungry. Frustratingly there was not anyway serving food to be found. A local lady out walking her dog confirmed the fact. With depleted energy and spirit I kept on going, away from Cookham and back to the Thames Path, nearly opposite to once notorious Cliveden House, site of the infamous Profumo Affair incident which nearly brought down the government in the 1960's.

Stately oak by the Thames near Cliveden HouseStately oak by the Thames near Cliveden House
Hello Winston. Can you see him?Hello Winston. Can you see him?

The Thames Path was very attractive here, Cliveden Gardens just visible on the opposite bank and on my side it was impressive too. For a mile and a half into Maidenhead I could class it a walk of two parts, the first part on an avenue of grand mature trees and the second part passing a series of grand homes. Then, just before Boulter's Lock, I spotted Winston Churchill's lookalike lazing in a seat in the garden area of a riverside cabin. He was chilling out, motionless. Unreal! At Boulter's Lock a boat was negotiating its way through the lock but I didn't hang around to watch. I was desperately hungry by now and hurried along toward the heart of Maidenhead in the hope of breakfast. Though it was not yet 9.00am I had being walking four hours and covered nine miles. Fortunately, just after the lock, I spotted Jenners Riverside Cafe and to my delight it was open. I went straight in and ordered a full breakfast with two rounds of toast. It was delicious.

Maidenhead Railway BridgeMaidenhead Railway Bridge
Sunken boat. What a wasteSunken boat. What a waste

Suitably refreshed after my great breakfast I continued on, crossing the A4 road bridge in Maidenhead, thus transferring from south to north side of the river. Continuing walking at a renewed energetic pace, having slowed with depleted energy before breakfast, I passed under Maidenhead Railway Bridge and arrived on a long stretch of walking on narrow path, hemmed in by shrubs, towards Dorney Reach. There were plenty of signs clearly stating 'no cycling' and just as I passed one such sign a group of five middle aged chaps hurtled towards me on bikes, forcing me into the bushes. There was no apology as they furiously peddled past and I held up my arms in bewilderment at their rudeness. Sorry to all you cyclists who stick to the rules, but why do they do it? It had to be said. Anyway, line in the sand; let's move on.

Red Kite flypastRed Kite flypast
St Mary Magdalene Church at BoveneySt Mary Magdalene Church at Boveney

I carried on my walk, enjoying the day and now halfway to Old Windsor it was time to sit down for a break. I found a bench and while I relaxed I enjoyed the spectacle of this Red Kite soaring overhead. And weirdly, just like yesterday, with Red Kites I saw Heathrow flypasts. Yesterday I was on a take off flying lane, this time on a landing flying lane. Coming down to land, one after the other in the ten minutes I was sat down relaxing, in order, were American Airlines, Air China and Emirates. After the airshow off I went, soon looking left to admire St Mary Magdalene Church at Boveney with its unusual timber framed steeple house. Near to the church and just behind me was the east end of Dorney Lake, used for the rowing events of the 2012 London Olympics. Anyway, now let us go to Windsor.

Flying over the castleFlying over the castle
Windsor CastleWindsor Castle

Before Windsor came Eton which I approached by way of South Field. Here I watched the spectacle of the continuous stream of landing planes flying directly over Windsor Castle. From South Field I passed under the A332 road bridge and soon after I climbed up on to the bridge linking High Street, Eton to Thames Street, Windsor. It was too busy to hang around and so I continued my walk uninterrupted, keeping to the riverside and walking beside the length of Romney Island. which in turn led me to the Home Park. Here I enjoyed tremendous views of Windsor Castle. Carrying on walking, I crossed Victoria Bridge to arrive in Datchet where I stopped for a final break in a nice area of riverside parkland before continuing on to meet my cousin in Old Windsor. A two mile walk later I was being greeted by a smile. Cousin Robbie had walked down the road from his house to riverside to meet me. In the evening he and his delightful wife Anna treated me to a meal in Windsor. Robbie even went that extra mile, washing and drying all my smelly laundry!

Copyright © 2003-2024 Walking Englishman. All rights reserved.
Facebook Twitter You Tube Linked In Google +

Continue the walk Homepage