Wind in the Willows
Wind in the Willows
This trip starts in the village of Remenham and takes us along the banks of the River Thames. Hopefully, like Mole, you will become ‘intoxicated with the sparkle, the ripple, the scent, and the sounds and the sunlight’ of it all. Things to do along the way include: looking for a badgers’ sett (look on the map for some clues as to where you might find one); watching the lock-keeper at work; keeping an eye out for interesting birds – we saw a magnificent heron at the weir – and seeing if you can identify the many different types of boats including a sailing boat, a punt, a houseboat and a ‘brand new wager boat’ just like the ones fickle Mr Toad had crazes for. We also saw some beautiful dragonflies when we were there.
Map Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 171
Distance 5 km / 3 miles
Terrain Very easy flat walk, mostly along well-maintained paths
WALK THE WALK
START St Nicholas Church, Remenham, Oxon
1 Face the church and walk up the lane on the right leaving the church to your left. Keep going until you reach a fork in the road and turn right on to Church Lane. Walk all the way up the hill.
2 At the first footpath sign, turn left and walk across the middle of an open field following the path. Keep going straight as the path narrows, ignoring what looks like a path to the right.
3 There is a ‘no public access’ notice on a tree, making it obvious which path to follow.
Just before reaching a gate, head left and follow the path down. It is here you want to be looking out for badger setts and paw prints. Badgers are part of the weasel family and often build their setts in sloping sandy soils in woodland and near pastureland. They mainly like to eat earthworms and are very shy so if you want to see one you will have to stand very still and try and keep out of the badger’s eye line.
As you come to the lane, climb over the stile and turn right. This is Aston village and there is a good pub here, the Flower Pot, that is worth a stop either for food or just a drink. To find the pub you need to walk just beyond the next footpath turning.
Turn left before the pub, following the public footpath sign. Walk along the gravel path as it bends through the field. You are now heading for the river.
Just before you get to the river, you will pass a small but interesting bog. Take a look in here as it’s the perfect habitat for frogs, toads and water rats. There are also small streams, perfect for little creatures. Walk on a little and you will see the river ahead of you. Follow the Thames Path going left. Hambledon Lock and the weir are just ahead. Do take the time to walk across the lock and half way over the weir bridge as you might see some fantastic birds. The roar of the water is exhilarating too.
Retrace your steps back to the Thames Path and pick up the path again heading towards Henley. A little further on you will see a grand white house on the opposite bank that we like to think of as Toad Hall. Somewhere along here is the best place to picnic.
Keep going and as you approach Temple Island – the official starting place of the Henley Royal Regatta boat course – look down the river to get a view of Henley and the church.
Just after this point there is a metal fence alongside the path. Here you will find a footpath sign sending you left through a gate away from the river. Before you turn off though, just a little bit further along the Thames Path, there is often an ice cream van. The children will undoubtedly spot it a mile off if it’s there.
8 Go through the kissing gate and follow the path back to the church and your car.