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An early Autumn walk along the River Thames

On a sunny Saturday morning it was gratifying to see 13 GOC members assembling at Henley station from a variety of GOC groups including London, Surrey, the South and West Midlands. It was a beautiful day, sunny, cool, and perfect for walking. Our walk leader Jon led us off at 11 am and we quickly crossed the Thames by the 18th century Henley bridge and from Oxfordshire into Berkshire. We then ascended the flank of Remenham Hill to pass through the immaculate Culham estate with its deer park. Here we observed an interesting herd of white deer.

Gradually descending we re-joined the south bank of the River Thames and had lunch on its banks where there were a couple of handy benches. Hurley Lock was interesting as we walked along a narrow island between two streams of the river. At the end of the island we crossed an attractive wooden footbridge followed a little later by another footbridge at Temple. This took us to the north bank and into Buckinghamshire, our third county of the day. We followed the north bank for a couple of miles to reach  Marlow. Here we said goodbye to three of our party who left to catch a bus back to the starting point.

The rest of us crossed Marlow Bridge back into Berkshire, and then left the banks of the river to cross the busy A404 by a pedestrian foot tunnel, We found out that this had been opened some years ago by our erstwhile Prime Minister, Theresa May. One of our party explained how as a 19-year old he had actually done some back-breaking physical work when the A404 was being constructed. Anyway, we were glad of the safe, if gloomy tunnel. Immediately afterwards we had to cross a head-high cornfield where the path looked like it would would peter out entirely, but eventually we made it the other side. The last section of our walk passed along the edge of a steep escarpment. This was quite exhilirating with wide views across the Thames Valley. We had to negotiate a steep and tricky descent of the the chalk bank to reach the flat expanse of Cock Marsh. After crossing this we re-joined the river bank for a few minutes before reaching the quirky Bounty Pub. Here we enjoy what we liked to think were well-earned pints sitting outside in the early autumn sun. After our drinks, there only remained our fourth and last crossing of the Thames that day to Bourne End station and our train back to London.

Thanks very much to Jon for leading this lovely walk and to everyone who came and made it such an enjoyable and sociable day out.

Andy Fisher

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