How to get there - I did this trip as the second day of a camping trip so I had camped at Hurley Lock at the end of day one but if you need to start afresh Hurley is four miles east of Henley on Thames on the A4130. Turn north into Hurley High Street and follow this road though the village. After Mill Lane on the right look for the entrance to the car park on the left. You can park here free for 24 hours.
For those with SatNav the postcode is SL6 5NB.
Get a map with driving directions to start or end (enter the postcode of your starting point at A)
Suggested Launch Site - From the car park portage up the public footpath and launch under the footbridge.
Description - Head east through Hurley Lock and after half a mile through Temple Lock. You are now in Marlow reach and, depending on the time of day, may well find many rowing boats training for one of the many Thames regattas or sailing dinghies from the National Sports Centre at Bisham Abbey. At the end of this long wide stretch is Marlow Suspension Bridge, opened in 1832 and restored in the 1960's after the failure of plans for it to be replaced with a ferro-concrete structure. What were they thinking of!
Just past the bridge, on the north bank is a public slipway, an alternative launching point although parking is a problem. The approach to the lock passes a long weir on the right. Once through the lock keep right at the by-pass bridge and pass the Scouts Longridge watersports cenre. In about a mile take the backwater on the right past the boatyard and some interesting riverside properties. I always find this more interesting than following the main channel with the cruiser traffic. You are now approaching Bourne End. If you are looking for somewhere to stop for a pint your choice is the Bounty (right bank before the railway bridge) or a mile further on andThe Ferry at Cookham Bridge.
Cookham Lock will take you into Cliveden Reach with the large mansion (now a hotel) that was the scene of the Profumo Scandal that brought down the Tory government in the 1960s. Two miles will brige you to Boulter's Lock. I ended my trip just before the lock where there is a free car park on the right (postcode SL6 8JB) but if you want another two miles you can continue on to the slipway at Bray (postcode SL6 2AT).
Comments on this trip
Keith Day 26 Jan 2010
The car park at Boulters lock is now Pay and Display.
Keith 07 Jun 2007
I was at Bray at the weekend and the slipway is now clear of nesting swans- no problem.
Nic Harley 07 Jun 2007
I am interested in doing the Thames trip Bray to Windsor. The last time I read about it you warned against swans and the get in, is this still the case?