Marlow Circular, Chilterns

A walk along the Thames Path to Temple Lock and through the picturesque Harleyford Estate to the woods of Marlow Common and the new Chiltern Society Local Nature Reserve.

Technical sheet No. 28953669

A Marlow walk posted on 24/11/22 by Chiltern Society. Last update : 24/11/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 3h10[?]
Distance Distance : 10.22 km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 75 m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 73 m
Highest point Highest point : 106 m
Lowest point Lowest point : 26 m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Chiltern Hills
Location Location : Marlow
Starting point Starting point : N 51.568672° / W 0.77727°
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Start: Pound Lane car park, Court Garden Leisure Complex, Marlow (SL7 2AE). Grid ref: SU 848 862

(D/A) Starting from Pound Lane car park proceed to the right of Court Garden (A) buildings and head towards the Thames on a tarmac path.

(1) At the river turn right along a gravel track and follow the Thames Path for 2Km until a tarmac road is reached just before Temple Lock, opposite the weir.

Alternative route if the Thames Path is flooded: From the car park entrance, turn left along Pound Lane for 150m and left again along Lower Pound Lane. Follow this track for 1km. When it reduces to a footpath, continue for a further 1km to meet the original walk at Lowgrounds Farm between route waypoints (2) and (3).

(2) Turn right at this road and walk away from the river for 800m, taking a path to the right of a modernised farm building and then back on the road to a sharp right bend at a Harleyford Estate lodge.

(3) Turn left here onto the Harleyford Estate footpath and follow the right edge of the field with the Thames and the Manor House (B) in the distance. Continue on this path for 700m, bearing right after leaving fields, to reach a road. Cross it, walk through a yard and climb up steps to meet a road junction at the Golf Club.

(4) Follow the footpath signs onto the road directly ahead, passing the left side of the Club buildings. Bear right past the impressive horse sculptures and take the path beside the large wooden gates. Follow this path with the golf driving range on the right and a hedge on the left.

At the far end of the driving range the path turns sharp right and then left through a kissing gate. Continue downhill and then uphill to meet a path T-junction. Turn right, cross over a road and continue through a grass field in the Whittington Estate (C) to meet the Marlow – Henley road at a metal kissing gate.

(5) Cross the road (A4155) and turn right along a narrow path running parallel to it. After 200m, just past Danesfield School, turn left over a stile and skirt alongside the school fence to meet a footpath heading into Marlow Common/Pullingshill Wood.

Follow this path, initially alongside the school playing field and then as marked by occasional faint white arrows and yellow waymark discs, until you reach an area protected by a deer fence. Keep right to follow the fence line. When the fence bends away to the left go straight ahead towards an open field. Just before the field bear slightly left onto a wide path. Follow it for 350m to a road junction in a valley.

(6) Take the footpath immediately to the left of the road opposite. Continue along this path parallel to the road for 400m passing information boards describing the WWI trenches on the left. At a waymarked path intersection, turn right for a few paces to meet the road. Turn left along it and after 200m turn right between the footpath sign and the white byelaws board.

Follow this path past Monks Corner (D) to soon reach a road at a junction with a private driveway. Cross the driveway to continue along the right-hand verge of the road for a short way until you reach a further driveway opposite the Marlow Common North Local Reserve (E) information board on the left.

(7) Walk up the driveway opposite the information board for 150m and take the path to the left of Heathercroft House. Continue into fields and through two kissing gates to meet the Chiltern Way at a path T-junction. Turn left and follow the path, which broadens out to a wider track after 100m. Continue along the track for 100m to reach Bovingdon Green. Follow the road round to the right and then to the left to meet the Frieth road. Turn right along it to reach the Royal Oak after 150m.

(8) Take the footpath on the opposite side of the road to the pub, and after 50m turn left at a path T-junction. Turn immediately right onto a narrow path and do not take the wider Chiltern Way that is straight on. Follow it for 850m to reach the Duke pub at Queens Road, bearing right at the corner of the allotments near the end.

(9) Turn right along the road, then turn left at the T-junction. Follow the road for 450m to reach a T-junction at West Street. Carefully cross the road (there is a pedestrian crossing further along the road to the left), and turn right. After 30m turn left down an alleyway between a restaurant and car park. Follow the alleyway for 250m to return to the start of the walk at Court Gardens car park.(D/A)

We hope you have enjoyed your walk. Please remember to rate the walk and add comments. We are interested in how we could improve the instructions or the route and would like to hear about any issues with paths on the walk.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 31 m - Pound Lane car park - Higginson Park and the Court Garden Leisure Complex
1 : km 0.31 - alt. 30 m - River Thames
2 : km 2.2 - alt. 27 m - Tarmac road
3 : km 3.05 - alt. 34 m - Harleyford Estate lodge - Harleyford Estate
4 : km 4 - alt. 55 m - Golf Club
5 : km 4.99 - alt. 75 m - Metal kissing gate - A4155
6 : km 6.33 - alt. 101 m - Road junction - Valley - Marlow Common North
7 : km 7.3 - alt. 104 m - Marlow Common North Local Reserve information
8 : km 8.4 - alt. 87 m - The Royal Oak
9 : km 9.49 - alt. 41 m - Road
D/A : km 10.22 - alt. 33 m - Pound Lane car park

Useful Information

__Start & finish:__ Pound Lane car park, Court Garden Leisure Complex, Marlow (SL7 2AE). Grid ref: SU 848 862

Parking: The Pound Lane car park, Pound Lane, Marlow

Local transport: Buses 800 and 850 run between High Wycombe and Reading all week. Bus 158 runs between High Wycombe and Marlow on weekdays (except Wednesday). Marlow is also served by mainline trains out of Paddington via Maidenhead.

Terrain: An easy walk with one stile and nothing too hilly. There is an alternative route if the Thames Path is flooded

Food & drink: Refreshments and toilets are available in Higginson Park adjacent to Court Gardens. En route there is the Royal Oak pub in Bovingdon Green and the Duke pub in Marlow

This walk was created for the book "50 Great Walks in the Chilterns" available from the Chiltern Society, White Hill Centre, White Hill, Chesham, Bucks, HP5 1AG Tel. 01494 771250 or fromAmazon 50GW.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

(A) Higginson Park and the Court Garden Leisure Complex : Higginson Park started out as formal gardens that were first opened to the public in 1785. In 1925, when both house and gardens were put up for sale, a local man named Smith set up a committee to raise £10,000 to buy the estate. General Sir George Higginson became the figurehead for the appeal. When it reached its target the committee asked Sir George to hand over the estate to the people of Marlow in 1926. In Higginson Park, between Court Garden (a Georgian Mansion) and the Thames, there is a statue commemorating Sir Steven Redgrave’s Olympic rowing successes.

(B) Harleyford Estate: The Estate and Manor House (now a Grade I listed building) was built in 1753 by the Clayton family who also owned Bisham Abbey and most of Marlow. The head of the family, Sir William Clayton, was an MP and Lord Mayor of London. Parts of the grounds are attributed to the 18th century landscape designer Capability Brown. The Estate now has a marina for about 420 boats, a golf course, and timber holiday lodges.

(C) Whittington Estate was created in 1898 as a family home for Viscount Davenport. The house was designed and built by Reginald Blomfield who was responsible for the restoration of Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country residence. At the Estate’s western edge lie the ruins of Danesfield hillfort, built over 2,000 years ago. Queen Mary, the present Queen’s grandmother, visited the Estate in 1931. Former residents include the Salvation Army and RAF Bomber Command. A lot of ordnance was found, including large casings from prototypes of Barnes Wallis’s bouncing bomb. The estate has been owned since 1985 by SAS, who are leaders in analytics software for the business intelligence market.

(D) Monks Corner: This house was built in 1900 for Conrad Dressler, who was the producer of Medmenham Ware. It has a long frieze panel of painted terracotta rural scenes, and is notable for being the home of Jerome K Jerome who wrote Three Men in a Boat.

(E) Marlow Common North: This area of Marlow Common, covering about 27 acres, was leased to the Chiltern Society by Bucks County Council in 2013. A group of volunteers is now gradually clearing the overgrown woodland, reinstating walks and clearing the old clay pits previously used by local brick companies. This Local Reserve has 50 species of fungi, 73 different botanical species and a wide variety of birds. If there is time please explore it to see what the Society and its volunteers have achieved - a waymarked circular path provides an ideal way to enjoy this delightful woodland.

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