Henley-on-Thames is a picturesque market town on the banks of the River Thames, cloaked by the Chiltern Hills. Founded in the 12th century as a river crossing and port for the supply of grain and timber along the river to London, it is best known for the world-famous regatta which it hosts each year in early July. This enjoyable route traces the regatta course along a peaceful stretch of the Thames. There are also woods, meadows and some interesting wildlife to be seen along the way.
Leave the station and turn right at a T-junction. At a boat hire kiosk, follow the road round to the left, with the River Thames to your right. Turn right across Henley Bridge, leaving the county of Oxfordshire and entering Berkshire. At the far side of the bridge is the Henley Royal Regatta headquarters. Cross the road here and follow a footpath signed to Hambleden Lock. You are now on the Thames Path National Trail. At the riverside, look out for swans, ducks and even great-crested grebes (this section of the path is subject to closure during the regatta).
Walk away from the bridge, passing the Leander Club on your right. Founded in 1818, it is perhaps the most celebrated rowing club in the world. After about 300m, you reach the regatta finish at Poplar Point. Continue to Temple Island, with its conspicuous folly. Built in 1771 by James Wyatt, it was used in Victorian times by members of the Leander Club as a vantage point from which to watch the regatta. The island also marks the regatta starting point.
Follow the water course as it sweeps to the right. The impressive white mansion on the far bank is Greenlands, once home to newsagent W.H. Smith. Further on, go through a wooden kissing gate to access Hambleden Lock.
2 1/2 Miles
Turn left to cross the lock and continue along a winding footbridge, where the Thames rushes beneath your feet. This detour leads to Hambleden Mill, a working example until the 1950s. Turn around and walk back to the lock, then turn left along a riverside lane. After about 200m, walk ahead on a grassy track and continue to a stony lane. Turn right along the lane to reach the Flower Pot Hotel. Pass Remenham Lane on your right and continue along the road to a wooden kissing gate on the right. Go through the gate and up an incline. Climb over a stile and continue uphill, passing woodland to your right. After going through a second kissing gate, keep ahead. As the path takes you across open fields, there are excellent views across the river valley to your right. Cross a stile to reach a lane.
4 1/2 Miles
Turn right along the lane and, as it bends left, the Thames and Temple Island come in to view. Turn left at a T-junction and pass Remenham church on your right. Follow the road as it curves to the left and continue for 400m to a footpath on the right.
Descend steps and follow the track, which returns you to the riverbank. Turn left and retrace your steps along the Thames Path, now with the river to your right. Cross Henley Bridge and turn left, then bear right by the boat hire kiosk to return to the station car park.
Well-marked paths and lanes over largely flat ground.
How to get there
By Car: Henley-on-Thames is located 3 miles north of Reading and 3½ miles west of Maidenhead. Main roads running into the town are the A4155, A321 and A4130. Use the train station car park (£3 per day), which is signposted from the town.
By public transport: First Great Western trains run between Henley-on-Thames and Twyford, with connections to Reading and London Paddington among others. A number of buses stop in the town, including services by Arriva and Thames Travel.
The Flowerpot Hotel
Ferry Lane, Aston,
Henley-on-Thames RG9 3DG % 01491 574721
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 171.
Grid ref: SU 764 822
Henley-on-Thames Tourist Information Centre
King’s Arms Barn, Kings Road, Henley-on-Thames RG9 2DG
Tel: 01491 578034
Henley Royal Regatta
The Henley Festival
Thames Path National Trail