Henley to Marlow, open boating on the Thames: 17 April 2010

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We hired open boats from ThamesCanoe and paddled from Henley to Marlow using trains to get there and back.

We were on the water by 9:50 at Henley Bridge. We paddled upstream to Hennerton Backwater, took a lazy trip up the backwater to Willow Marina then back downstream again (riding Marsh Lock in both directions). Stopped for lunch on the bank just downstream from Henley, where we were nearly extorted for £8 (£2 per canoe) for the privilege. We chose to portage around Hambleden Lock at 13:50 and it was ice creams all-round while we finished our lunch break.

We continued downstream at 14:10 and picked up the pace a bit (the canoes were due back at 16:00). We passed lots of birds, chicks, sheep and lambs along the way, including a pair of Grebs, with one carrying chicks on its back :) Upon arriving at Hurley weir, we decided to portage across the first island right next to the weir since it was only a 3 metre walk across to the other side. The weir had two gates open and there were several guys in play boats enjoying the row of 6 standing waves it was throwing up.

We portaged around Temple Lock at 15:30 which was great for practising our take-outs and put-ins, but it wasn't any quicker than if we'd used the lock (it took 15 minutes). We continued down the final reach at a moderate pace, arriving at the slipway in Marlow at 16:10. There was a nice pub only 30 yards from the slipway and we spent the next 1 1/2 hours chilling out in the afternoon sunshine.

...and kudos to Sarah and Dan for playing assistant to Paul Daniels for the day.

Total distance covered: ~12 miles.

Dan's photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/twicezero/sets/72157623759583499/

From ThamesCanoe website: Henley to Marlow Quick Facts

  • Total distance 8.35 miles
  • No of Locks 3
  • Suitable for all –short rural trip taking in classic Thames towns of Henley and Marlow - much wildlife, landscape and architecture to be observed.
  • Rural, green and pleasant.

Public Transport options for this route

  • START – Henley train station .05 mile
  • Henley Taxi – 01494 574222
  • FINISH – Marlow Train Station – 0.5miles
  • Marlow cabs - 01628 262628