Distance: 12 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous; some steep sections
Map: Explorer 171
Start and finish: Henley station
Walk surveyed and described by Richard Bacher, based on Ken’s summary as follows: Undulating in the afternoon. Through Henley Park to Middle Assenden for an early lunch at the Rainbow Inn. On via Great Wood, Hambledon and the river back to Henley
Description checked and minor amendments made by Sue Aldridge and Jackie Gower
Leave the station and turn right down to the junction with Station Road. Turn right and follow the road down to the river. Follow the road round to the left and walk along the river, crossing at the traffic lights at the bridge. Continue and then turn left into New Street. At the T-junction turn right into Bell Street and when a large junction is reached take the A4130 signposted 'Nettlebed'. After ¼ mile take the Oxfordshire Way footpath on the right next to Rupert House playing
fields and opposite Fairmile Court.
Follow the Oxfordshire Way for nearly a mile and when a junction of paths is met by a kissing gate keep straight ahead on a tarmac path for about 3/4 mile. On reaching a lane, with Pond Cottage on the left, cross it and climb over the stile. Continue along the path crossing a further four stiles (the last one going into a small wood) until you come to a road. Turn left down to the main road, the B480 and then go sharp right for 100 yards. On the left is the Rainbow Inn at Middle Assenden.
On leaving the inn, turn left and continue along the B480 for ¼ mile and take the uphill footpath on the right. When a wood is reached take the path into the wood to the left of the white gate. Within ½ mile the path turns right. Go over the stile into a field. Keep ahead and when reaching the path junction bear left and continue for about a mile. There are good views to the left over the hedge.
On reaching Coxlease Farm (red brick, Georgian?) turn right and go through a kissing gate (ignoring the other kissing gate on the left) and follow the concrete track down to the road. Turn left along the road for about 500 yards and take the footpath on the right over a stile. Continue over the next two stiles and then through a kissing gate into Annabelle’s Wood ( a new wood).
Leave the end of the wood through a kissing gate and turn right passing detached houses and following waymark signs. Go through a white metal gate with a pond on the right and follow the drive past Bosmore Farm House on the left. Turn left at the footpath sign at the end of the buildings. Keep on a gravel track with farm buildings on the left (ignore the small lane on the right); coming shortly to a crossing with another track, keep ahead over a stile by a footpath sign.
Follow the field path down by electric posts and go over a stile into a wood. Go through the wood and then continue by the side of a garden to reach a road. Turn right along the road for about 200 yards and then left into the drive of Lower Woodend Farm. Keep on the drive and then on a path for about ½ mile. At a junction of paths take the right path between wire fences until you come to a wooded path with a bridleway crossing it. Turn right on to the woodland bridleway and carry on through woods for about half a mile, ignoring any turnings to the right. The path eventually slopes down to the left by a white arrow marked on a tree to your right and then reaches a four-way wooden sign post. At this sign post cross over the main track and take the path that goes uphill to the right. Follow this path through the woods until coming to a main track where you turn right along the main track. A little further on, where the track forks right, keep straight on and follow the track out to join a clear wider main track, veering right and going south for nearly ¼ mile. Turn sharp left at a wooden sign post. Follow this path down for about ¼ mile, then turn right, then shortly afterwards left by multiple signs. Continue down for another ¼ mile to reach the road to Hambledon. Turn right along the road for ¼ mile, then left along a narrow lane leading into Hambledon village. There is a pub and small shop in the village where you can usually buy a cup of tea.
Leaving the village, heading south with the church behind you, go through a kissing gate on the left side of the road just past the cottages. Follow the path across a large field to another kissing gate, cross over a track to walk across another field until the path ends and rejoins the road after about ¾ mile from Hambledon.
Follow the road down to the junction with the A4155. Turn right, cross over, go beyond the entrance to the marina and turn left at a fingerpost sign to follow a path out to the weir. Cross the weir and the lock to reach the south side of the River Thames. Turn right and follow the tow path to Henley Bridge. Cross over the bridge and turn left and follow the riverside road which bends right at the end to follow the road back to the station. Turn left into Station Approach.