Cliveden Woodlands

17th February
Probably the first spring-like walk of the year and Hannah's joined us. Some mix-up over ordering a new printer and she's back to collect. Whatever the reason, any weekend either of them are back is special...and at last we pick the sunny day to go for a walk. Not that the first part of the walk goes to plan.
I'd hoped to be able to walk through the grounds of Taplow Court but we're accosted just inside the gate and directed back to the road.

Sonning

27th August

We were last here 30 years ago and, even then, the place was a well known for gridlock, with traffic queuing both sides to cross the narrow bridge at Sonning Eye. We're parking up at 8am on Bank Holiday Monday and already there's a short queue for the bridge. How do local celebs cope living around here? Perhaps the Clooney's arrive and leave by boat.

This is a gentle, morning walk. Nothing too strenuous, just a pleasant climb onto the high ground above Sonning at Dunsden Green, followed by a loop past Binfield Heath and back to The Thames at Shiplake.

Moulsford

17th August

The first of several Thames walks and I'm kicking myself. I meant to set off in a broadly clockwise direction but walking out of the Lardon Chase car park I get confused and we end up walking through Common Wood and down the hill to Streatley. I do my best to pass it off as a planned diversion but to tell the truth it annoys me for a large part of the walk...we've already walked along this stretch of the Thames and in this direction...I'd wanted to do it in the opposite direction! Sue reckons I'm a bit up-tight sometimes.

Cookham

16th June Leaving the car, we walk south across the fields to Cookham Rise before the long, gentle climb to Fultness and Quarry Woods, high above Bisham. Through the trees we glimpse Marlow but to tell the truth, for the most part the view is obscured by leaves and trees. The return takes in some views from Winter Hill, a gentle stroll along the Thames and a stop for an ice cream at The Bounty.

Streatley

26th May Today we're walking in the Kingdom of Wessex and, it turns out, I've been joined by Ethelred's long-lost grand-daughter, 'Susan the Unready'. We arrive at the Lardon Chase car park to discover that Sue's left her walking boots behind! In spite of our inauspicious start, this is a thoroughly enjoyable walk. It has a pleasing mix of river views, secluded valleys, downland views and sleepy country villages. We follow the Thames as far as Moulsford before striking up onto the Downs through Unhill Wood and Cow Common. From up here the views are far and wide, including the Chilterns in the distance.

Hurley

Hurley stirs old memories of other's generosity. 40 years ago our boys' club leader had a motor launch moored here. Back then he used to take us on trips along the Thames. Altogether more innocent days!

As we park up in Hurley it seems not much has changed in the intervening years. There are many more threatening 'No Parking' notices but the village shop and church look like they've been stuck in a time capsule. However the 21st Century comes crashing in as we walk west along the River...they're charging £3 per head for a picnic in the Riverside Park! Taking care not to inadvertently unpack food or drink, we press on as far as Culham Court.