The Thames Path - Hambleden to Maidenhead.

Walking beside The River Thames along The Thames Path section from Hambleden Lock via Hurley, Marlow, Bourne End and Cookham to Maidenhead.

From Hambleden Lock the towpath continues a short distance to reach what was once a ferry crossing point at the end of Ferry Lane and then continues on the other side of the river as far as Medmenham. This ferry is no longer available so a diversion away from the river for the Thames Path has been created. This goes up Ferry Lane to shortly reach an old pub called The Flowerpot. Pass the pub now on Aston Lane and shortly go left on a narrow lane to reach Culham Farm. Just past the farm the road turns right but go ahead on a path which goes between a small woods and then into a field. Follow the path which cuts across a slope with The River Thames mostly hidden by trees someway below and the quite impressive landscaped gardens and Culham Court itself above. The Thames Path goes via several kissing gates and everything is clearly marked.

Bisham Church seen from The Thames Path in England.Temple Lock beside the River Thames at Hurley, England.Eventually on reaching a very narrow road, go right and follow this as it passes by some cottages and then turns to the right - where a small road goes off to the right find a marked path on the left which goes diagonally across a field to regain The Thames itself. The path just keeps following the bendy River Thames as it passes by Medmenham - unreachable from this side of The Thames - then Frogmill to then arrive at Hurley. Because of the weir and the various courses the river takes this area is very popular for picnics etc. - lots of seating and even toilets are available. When you reach a small footbridge - for a short diversion - if you go right down a narrow footpath you soon reach Hurley Village. Otherwise cross the footbridge which crosses the cut made for the lock - and continue on soon arriving at Hurley Lock.
Having passed the lock you have to cross the river yet again via another footbridge - continue along with fields on your right to then reach the huge Temple Footbridge which spans the river as yet again again the towpath changes sides and you then reach Temple Lock and Weir where there is a small cafe and toilets. Continuing along the towpath reaches and then passes by Bisham (on the far bank) where you get truly beautiful views of Bisham's Norman church of All Saints which is sat right on the riverside. This church's tower dates back to around 1175 however the rest of the building is from Victorian times when it was restored. (Although Bisham Abbey is shown on maps there is in fact nothing significant remaining unfortunately). Shortly after passing Bisham the path takes you into Marlow and it's very impressive suspension bridge which dates from 1832.
View of Marlow Church and Bridge from The River Thames, England.Marlow  suspension bridge crossing The Thames, England. There never has been a towpath right alongside the river in this part of Marlow and the Thames Path follows the original towpath route known as "Seven Corner Alley" until it rejoins the river near Marlow Lock and Weir - the way is clearly marked. Looking back from the lock you get beautiful views of the Marlow Church, the Bridge and the Weir. The route continues through a beautiful area with poplar trees, picnic areas and playing fields and then goes via open areas and meadows to eventually reach the outskirts of Bourne End. Note the railway crossing just here - if you go across the railway line and up the narrow road a little way there is a free car park available on the left - very busy on weekends note. There is a rail service from Bourne End which goes to Maidenhead and Marlow and also frequent buses go to Maidenhead and High Wycombe. The river is quite wide at Bourne End and is very popular with small sailing dinghys - with quite an active sailing club alongside the river. There are also seemingly hundreds of pleasure craft moored in the area - this all makes Bourne End very busy during weekends and it's a nice area for strolling around.
Beautiful Marlow in Buckinghamshire, England -  seen from the Thames.Marlow's Weir controlling the flow of the River Thames in England.. The Thames Path goes via a couple of stretches of very narrow hedge lined "alleyway" until it reaches a footbridge (which is attached to the single line railway bridge) - yet again the path changes sides!. The way onwards is via open meadows to then reach Cookham where the river splits itself into four sections and direct access to the river disappears - originally three ferries were used to get the towpath through all this. The Thames Path has been routed via the church yard to reach the main road - go on round to the right, straight across a road junction and then around two hundred yards along Mill Lane which goes off on the left.

However before doing this having gone through the church yard and reached the main road there is a narrow road opposite (on the bend) called Odney Lane and this will take you down to reach a footbridge.Cookham Lock in a beautiful setting  - River Thames, England. Once over this there are beautiful meadows and if you follow the track round you will reach the weir. Go on over the weir to reach the lock cut and cross the bridge. The path going off to the left is probably the route of the old towpath since it actually just goes to the river but no further - there used to be a ferry there. Therefore, turn right and then walk on alongside the cut to reach Cookham Lock itself where there are several bench seats scattered amongst the trees.
Back on the Thames Path route - at the end of Mill Lane a footpath takes you through a nicely wooded area to re-reach The Thames at My Lady Ferry Crossing (now defunct) - as you approach this it really looks like you have arrived at a dead end however right on the edge of the river bank a path leaves on the right. This path is really excellent for walking along - it's tree lined and with the beautiful River Thames always just a few feet away - known as Cliveden Deep this takes you all the way into the northern edge of Maidenhead and Boulters Lock.
Boulters Lock is a really nice area to look around - if you cross the lock you can walk onto Ray Mill Island which is a public gardens area - note there is no entrance fee but the area is locked promptly 30 minutes before dusk each day. The Mill itself has now been converted into a hotel but you can still see the mill race going underneath the building. There are lots of seating areas, a cafe and also toilet facilities on Ray Mill Island. At the far end of the Island you will find the weir and thoughtfully the authorities have placed several bench seats here so it's just right for somewhere to relax and perhaps have your lunch.

The beautiful old multi arched Maidenhead Bridge over The Thames in England.Continuing alongside the Thames the path is on a pavement and Maidenhead's lovely bridge soon comes into view. The path takes you alongside the river nearly as far as the bridge but just after passing houses it takes you back up to the road. There is no footpath on this side of the road but you only have to walk 30 or so yards before reaching gardens or you can cross over the road for this short distance but will then of course have to cross it again back to the gardens.
Maidenhead Bridge. Originally made of wood there has been a bridge over the River Thames at Maidenhead since 1280. The bridge was the site of a three day battle in the first part of 1400 between The Three Earls (Salisbury, Huntingdon and Gloucester) and King Henry IV.
The Guild of St. Andrew and St. Mary Magdalene - also known as The Overseer, Wardens, Brethren and Sisters of the Fraternity - which existed between 1451 to 1547 - were the forerunners of the Bridgemasters (appointed by the Corporation) and built the second version of the bridge around 1460. The present Maidenhead Bridge was designed by Sir Robert Taylor and was constructed next to the original wooden version between 1772 and 1777 by mason-contractors John Townesend of Oxford. Built using Portland stone it has 13 semi-circular arches, is 474 feet long and 30 feet wide and as with many bridges over the River Thames was originally a toll bridge however toll collection ended here in 1903.

To continue further along the Thames Path heading towards Eton and Windsor, the towpath switches sides so go onto the bridge - do not cross the road - at the far end go left and after a few yards again go left down past a small boatyard and then via a gate under the bridge onto the towpath.

Related items about The Thames Path:
Our The Thames Path towpath Walks in England Home Page lists all our topics about walking along the Thames Path from Lechlade through to the end of the Path at the Thames Barrage. .
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External Link: visit Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide - lots about Boulters Lock area in olden days.