I did a recce yesterday between Marlow and Cookham, as Lindsay requested.
There is a car park at a playing field on the north bank of the river below
Marlow Lock, immediately on the west side of the bridge where the A404
Marlow Bypass crosses it. There is a tiny inlet where entry to the water
would be easy. There are several suitable destinations, i.e. places with
First would be Spade Oak Warf (1.87 miles). The Spade Oak pub is a quarter
mile away across fields and along a little lane. There is a public car park
as well as the pub's. This would be easiest for parking.
Second exit would be at The Bounty (2.34 miles), right on the river's south
bank. There is no road access to The Bounty, the nearest being in the
vicinity of the Upper Thames Sailing Society at Bourne End on the opposite
bank. We could swim across or there's a footpath on the railway bridge just
down the river (about half a mile down, across and up again). Parking is
limited so we might need to find places in nearby streets.
Third exit would be just north of Cookham on the west bank (3.16 miles) then
walk the footpath across fields to The Pound at Cookham (a third of a mile);
the nearest pub is The Crown.
Fourth exit is at The Ferry pub beside the bridge at Cookham (3.52 miles).
Parking may be possible in nearby Odney Road.
Footpaths run beside the river bank virtually the whole way. I can probably
arrange drivers to ferry swimmers from the end point to the start and
walkers to follow on the bank in case anyone needs assistance. Parking at
the weekend is usually crowded, the easiest being at Spade Oak, and perhaps
that's far enough. The Bounty would be great though, being right on the
river and rural. I quite fancy the full distance but perhaps that's a bit
too serious. The best date for me would probably be Sunday 31st October.
I hope to check out the stretch Aston to Hurley (3 miles) which is between
Henley and Marlow. I may do that today. Henley to Aston is another
possibility worth a look.
Anyone got any thoughts on these suggestions (including dates)? Is it too
far from Reading?
P.S. Good to meet a few RATS last Sunday at Mapledurham.