Saturday 27th October
Abingdon 0815 car 0915 Nettlebed 0930 Motts Yellow Bus M1 0935 Satwell, The Lamb PH, opp
Henley-on-Thames, Hart Street, stop A 1410 1510 1610 ... 139 139 1418 1518 1618 ... Nettlebed 1430 1530 1630 ... car car car 1500 1600 1700 ... Abingdon
Today's route (with distances in miles):
Today's walk starts at Satwell. To get there I'm planning to get the once-a-day bus from Nettlebed to Satwell. However, for some reason I failed to find the return journey of this bus yesterday. So I'm wondering whether it'll turn up.
I arrive in Nettlebed with plenty of time to spare, find a suitable place to leave the car all day and start to read more of Sallinger's "Catcher of the Rye". About ten minutes befor the bus is supposed to arrive, I wander across to the bus stop.
There is someone there waiting for the same bus and he bores me with details of his detox programme. According to me, the bus arrives and leaves a few minutes early (about 0928). And it has ten or so people on it (which is a lot for thse local buses).
At Satwell, I retrace the 0.4M back to the junction in the woods. So today's walking starts with yet more walking in the magnificent woods. Unlike yesterday (and most days this week), today I meet a lot of people. Some are out walking their dogs; others are on their mountain bikes; some are walking; others are running; a few are on horses.
About 1K after the junction, I get to Peppard Common. From here, there is a shorter route to Henley along Dog Lane and Pack and Prime Lane. But even though Henley is to the North, I'm going further SouthEast (to lunch in Shiplake Row) before aiming NorthEast to the join the Thames Path to approach Henley.
First, it is East to the Church and then SouthEast to Bottom Barn. When I get there the track to the right (South) of the Barn does not exist. Luckily, behind me there have been two people walking a dog and they have proceeded straight on when I tried to find this footpath right of the Barn. So I retrace my steps and proceed left (North) of the Barn. This route is well trodden and at the end of the field where according to the map it joins the non-existent path there are footpath signs pointing onwards into the wood.
At the other end of the woods there is a steep climb up Kent's Hill. I then see some of the dishes of the Crowsley Park Wireless Station.
Cross the road and then it's into another wood. After having walked two minutes I suddnely see a large deer with large antlers just in fornt of me. He is staring at me. I get my camera to my face but the blurred photo I took shows nothing of any deer who has bounded away.
A short time later, I come across two young women who ware waling fast towards me. I spot their water containers which are for runners as they are the kind that enable you to put your hand through the middle. My opening line is to say "shouldn't you be running?". They laugh and reply they are gossiping. It's an excellent wood to run through.
At the end of Bones Lane, I come across a Brakspear's pub that is being renovated. There is then 0.5K of tarmac which is boring. It brings me to Binfield Heath. There is a symbol for a pub on the map. It's just over a K away in Shiplake Row. I presume it is the White Hart that I've found on the web. However, I failed to work out where it is. So I have a choice of walking along the road through Binfield Heath to Shiplake Row where I will more likely spot the pub if it isn't the one marked with the symbol on the map. Or I can take the route I've chosen which goes along a back lane through the woods to a point a short distance from the pub symbol. I decide to do the later. There's bound to a pub of some sort where the symbol is. It's a non-issue in the end. When I get to the point on the map where the pub symbol is (a) there is a pub there; (b) it is the White Hart.
It's 1217. It's only me inside the pub. It has wooden flooring and it's only later that I see the sign to take off muddy boots. They only have Brakspear Bitter and I have a pint. It is excellent. I order ham, egg and chips to go with it. Whilst I'm there two other groups of people arrive and so it is not a busy pub. I resist the urge to have another pint (a) because I want to taste some beers in Henley, (b) I'm driving.
So I'm out walking again at about 1250. The route from Shiplake Row is NorthEastwards. Just before joining the Thames Path at Bolney Court, my attention is drawn to an extensive garden on the right hand side that has a minature railway running through it with alternative routes. It looks like fun. It even has a scaled-down version of raliway station which I think is named "San Moritz".
Whilst walking Northwards along the Thames Path, I see some boats and a darter. I also see some boats going through Marsh Lock.
I head inland and see Henley Town Football Club's ground (where a match is going to take place this afternoon). There is a car park beside this and, at the back of the car park, the route in to Henley runs alongside the railway line. Just before it ends there is a "Footpath closed" sign. It seems like a fitting end to the walk. I have to climb through the hedge to get to the street for the final stage of the walk.
In Henley, I search out a pub called "The Bird in the Hand". It's in Grey's Street, and there I have a half of Hooky Dark followed by a half of Doom Bar, a beer from a brewery in Rock in Cornwall. Both beers are wonderful but I resist another as I have to drive home. Unlike the delays on yesterday's service between Wallingford and Henley today's is on time.
Preview of today's walk:
From Satwell, return back along the path that goes SW along the boundary between Oveys Wood and Greatbottom Wood. At the junction, go SE through Greatbottom Wood and Littlebottom Wood to Peppard Common.
Continue in a SouthEasterly direction, passing the church, and later Bottom Barn. Continue up Kent's Hill to King's Farm and then go along Kings Farm Lane.
Continue in a SouthEasterly direction through Gillsmither's Wood and Bones Wood and Bones Lane to Binfield House. There's a pub here called the Bottle and Glass Inn (RG9 4JT).
Take the road SSE to Shiplake Row. For lunch, there's a pub in Shiplake Row called The White Hart (RG9 4DP) (or you could take an early lunch at the Bottle and Glass Inn).
Use the footpath going E pass Kiln Farm and along the boundary of Long Copse. When it reaches a T junction, go left, i.e., N, through Lower Hailey Wood, Shiplake Woods and Upper Hailey Wood. Then pick up a footpath going E pass Cray House to reach the A4155 near to a Nursery. Cross over the road and the railway line to reach Bolney Court.
Here the route joins the Thames Path for the final march Northwards to the walk's end at Henley-on-Thames.