Hambleden Mill to Henley-on-Thames – a circular walk

Walking trail

This circular, 6.1 miles (9.8 km) walk starts at the site of an extensive Roman villa complex with a dark history. It then crosses the River Thames via a weir and a lock at Hambleden Mill, before heading upstream along the river bank alongside the regatta course to Henley-on-Thames. This stretch of river is usually busy with boats of many types, and a wide variety of geese, ducks, swans, cormorants and other water birds. In the summer months it is popular with numerous leisure boats. Before returning to the river, the walk heads across a low hill above Remenham, which offers panoramic views across the Thames Valley, with occasional glimpses of the river itself. The route eventually returns to Hambleden Mill, along a quieter stretch of river where you may see the occasional flash of azure blue, as kingfishers dart along the riverside.

Please always follow the Countryside Code.

Restrictive Covenants

Some of the land in this walk is protected by the Greenlands restrictive covenant. This is a legal agreement dating from 1944 between the National Trust and Lord Hambleden which means the land is protected in perpetuity. The land has various private owners, but any changes to the land or the buildings require the prior consent of the National Trust. The route follows public rights of way, including parts of the Thames Path and the Chiltern Way (Berkshire Loop), and a permitted footpath.

Hambleden Mill and Weir


Mill End Hambleden walk map


Start at the pay & display public car park in Skirmett Road at Mill End Hambleden. Grid. Ref: SU 785854


From the entrance to the car park, cross the Skirmett Road with care and turn right along the narrow roadside path. Although there is no obvious visible evidence, you are now in the middle of the site of a large Roman Villa complex which straddles the road. Continue along the road towards Mill End Farm. When you run out of footpath, cross the road again and then follow the tarmac path diagonally away from Skirmett Road to reach a crossing point on the A4155 opposite the entrance to Hambleden Marina. Please take great care crossing the road here as you cannot be seen easily by traffic coming from your right. When you have crossed the road, follow the track into Hambleden Marina. On reaching a traffic barrier, take the path to its right between fences. You will soon emerge onto Hambleden Weir.

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Site of Yewden Roman Villa


Follow the footpath across the weir. As you do so, take the opportunity to look back at the Hambleden Mill building.

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Hambleden Weir and Mill


Once you have crossed the weir, you will emerge at Hambleden Lock, which is a hive of activity in the summer months and a popular place to sit and watch the boats as they are lifted or lowered between adjacent stretches of the River Thames. Cross the lock via the lock gate (you may have to wait a moment if it is in use!) and turn right, along the lock side to a gate at the far end that leads into a field. Follow the riverside path towards Remenham and Henley-on-Thames.

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Hambleden Lock


After 650 metres you will be opposite a group of large white buildings with landscaped gardens. This is the University of Reading’s Henley Business School at their Greenlands Campus.

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After a further 750 metres you will reach a small island in the river with a distinctive temple at its far end. This is Temple Island.

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Temple Island


From Temple Island, continue along the river bank. You are now following the course of the Henley Royal Regatta. Shortly after the village of Remenham you will see the east façade of Fawley Court. Continue along the riverside path until you reach a small hump-backed footbridge.

(NB. The foothpath between Remenham to Henley can become flooded and very muddy during the winter months. An alternative route to avoid this can be taken by turning left onto a signposted footpath shortly after entering Remenham village. Follow the path past St Nicholas church, and continue along Remenham Lane. This lane runs parallel to the river and provides nice elevated views down to the river. Depending on the extent of the flooding you can either re-join the riverside path at the Upper Thames Rowing Club (GR SU 768 838) or continue all the way to Henley and re-join the path between points 8 & 9.)

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Thames Valley and Fawley Court


The footbridge, which is about halfway along the Henley Regatta course, is a good vantage point from which you can appreciate the straightness of the Thames at this point, making it suitable for a regatta course. From here, continue in the same direction until you reach the Leander Club just before Henley Bridge.

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Henley Regatta Course


Just after the Leander Club, the path heads away from the river to emerge on the main A4130. Here turn left, crossing the driveway to the Leander Club. Keeping to the left side of the road, follow the roadside path until you reach Remenham Lane. The Little Angel Public House is on the other side of the lane. Turn left into Remenham Lane. Initially there is no footpath, but after it bends to the left you pick up a roadside path with the Henley Cricket club on your right. At the moment the roadside path suddenly ends, turn right through a wooden gate, signposted for The Chiltern Way, then follow a gravel track towards a large house on the hillside ahead of you (Matson House), and towards a stile at a narrow gap in the hedge.

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Cross the stile and turn half left following a straight grass path across the lawn in front of Matson House towards a footpath signpost. Just past this, cross a stile and follow the path uphill through a belt of woodland until you reach a metal gate leading into an area of pasture. Take the uphill path across the pasture towards another area of woodland. As you approach the woodland, you will see another stile. Cross this and follow the path uphill through an area of coppiced woodland. After about 270 metres, the path emerges from the woodland into a field. Continue half right and uphill across the field until you reach the highest point, which offers a panoramic view of part the Thames Valley.


Continue in the same direction towards a gap in a hedge about half way between two prominent trees. Go through the gap to reach a lane. Here turn left and follow the lane gently downhill. After 230 metres, turn right, through a metal kissing gate onto a footpath signposted opposite the gate as the Chiltern Way Berkshire Loop. Follow the path straight ahead with a hedge on your left. The view soon opens out on your left to offer more views of the Thames Valley and into the distant Hambleden Valley. Eventually the view gives way to a belt of trees and the path becomes more enclosed. As you approach a wooden gate, turn left and downhill just before it, along a permissive path. You will soon see further views towards Greenlands as you approach a large metal gate. Cross the stile to the right of the gate and turn right along a narrow lane into Aston Village until you reach the Flower Pot.

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Thames View


From the Flower Pot Hotel, turn left into Ferry Lane. Follow the lane for 400 metres until you reach the river bank at the disused ferry crossing.

The Flower Pot Hotel


On reaching a river jetty for the Flower Pot Hotel, turn left through a gate, following the riverside path. This is usually a quiet stretch of meadow and river bank where it is not unusual to catch a glimpse of the unmistakable bright blue flash of a kingfisher darting between the trees and shrubs along the riverside. Continue along the bank until you return to Hambleden Lock. From here, retrace your steps across Hambleden Weir back to the car park.

(NB. In case of flooding at the old ferry crossing, return to Aston village, turn right after the first house on your right and then follow the wide farm track all the way back to Hambleden Lock at point 3.)

River Thames at Aston


Public car park in Skirmett Road at Mill End Hambleden. Grid. Ref: SU 785854

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Hambleden Mill to Henley-on-Thames – a circular walk


The walk is mainly on soft footpaths with some surfaced paths and short, quiet stretches of country lane. There are some slopes. There are a number of gates on the route and you will need to cross a busy road twice. On the return part of the route (after Henley), there are several stiles. Occasionally, after periods of heavy and prolonged rainfall, the Thames Path will flood. Please check with the Environment Agency before starting your walk. Stout walking shoes or walking boots are recommended in wet conditions or after heavy rain, as some paths can become muddy and slippery. Dogs are welcome, but must be kept under strict control to protect the wildlife that may be encountered along the walk route. Before and during Henley Regatta week (first week in July) the Thames Path at Henley can be very busy and the path may be temporarily closed. During the festival itself, a 488m stretch is closed. Walkers are able to use a route parallel to the footpath about 10 metres away. 

Please note that none of the route is on National Trust land. As such, the National Trust does not check for hazards on the walk. Walkers therefore follow this route at their own risk.


Hambleden Mill to Henley-on-Thames – a circular walk

How to get here

Skirmett Road car park, Mill End, Hambleden, Henley-on-Thames RG9 6TL
By train

The nearest railway station is Henley-on-Thames. From the station, turn right into Station Road, which becomes Thameside when it reaches the river. Follow this to the river bridge. Turn right to cross the bridge and to join the walking route between points 8 and 9.

By road

From Marlow, follow the A4155 towards Henley-on-Thames for 4.7 miles. At Mill End turn right towards Hambleden. The carpark, which is signposted, is 500 yards on the left.

From Henley-on-Thames, follow the A4155 towards Marlow for 2.8 miles. At Mill End turn left towards Hambleden. The carpark, which is signposted, is 500 yards on the left. 

NB. The car park has a height restriction of 6’9” (2.1 metres).

SATNAV: the nearest postcode is RG9 6TL. Latitude: 51.562559, Longitude: -0.868294

By foot

The route can be joined on foot between points 8 and 9 from Henley-on-Thames town centre by crossing the river bridge.

By bus

Arriva and Carousel Buses run a regular services between High Wycombe and Reading (Route 800, 850 and 80X) which stop at Mill End, Hambleden.

By bicycle

Please see OS map 171. The route itself is not suitable for bicycles, but it is within easy cycling distance of Reading, Wargrave, Marlow, Twyford or High Wycombe.

Hambleden Mill to Henley-on-Thames – a circular walk

Facilities and access

  • Parking is available at Mill End, Hambleden. Grid. Ref: SU 785854. This was free, but there are now charges: 1hr - £1, 2hrs - £2, 4hrs - £3, 6hrs - £4, 24hrs - £5. There is a height restriction on the carpark of 6’9” ( 2.1 metres)
  • Alternative parking can be found in Henley-on-Thames
  • There are two pubs on the route, which sell food: the Little Angel in Remenham Lane, Henley and the Flower Pot Hotel at Aston. The Flower Pot has a large garden with seating, which is popular with families. There are numerous eating places in Henley.
  • There are several seats and benches along the route of the River Thames, especially at Hambleden Lock. In the summer, particularly at weekends and on Bank Holidays, there is often an ice-cream van at Hambleden Lock.