Locked and Boulted from Hambleden to the finish

Locked and Boulted from Hambleden to the finish

The Chilterns

Once you are on dry land again follow the roads out of the marina. As you exit, you will see the road towards Fingest signposted on your right. The road takes you up the Hambleden Valley, one of the most attractive stretches of road in the Chilterns. You bypass Hambleden 

 and the smaller Pheasant's Hill on your right and cycle through  the straggly hamlet of Skirmett. The small village of Fingest contains the second Information Control. Fingest has a fine church with a very unusual Norman tower with later twin gables. Most of the rest of the church is 12th or 13th century.
Fingest church

Charity, Fingest

Standing just across the road is the Chequers Inn.
The pub

The pub

Fingest has been popular with film makers. Some of Monument Men was shot here. Paradise Postponed, Foyle's War and Midsomer Murders have all used the village as a location.
Fingest house

You carry on through the village and fork right along a dry valley, signposted to Frieth.

Dry valley

A moderate climb is required and you swing out of the valley into woods climbing up to a crossroads with the Lane End to Frieth road. You go straight across for Marlow with a little bit of further climbing taking you to just shy of 150m above sea-level. After that it is downhill most of the way to Marlow, descents punctuated by short ascents. 

In Marlow turn left - you should have a car dealer to your right -  and turn right at the obelisk topped mini-roundabout and keep on to the bridge.

The Market House and obelisk, Marlow
Marlowites seem to have a particular need to park their car directly outside the shop they are visiting and the High Street offers a constant display of reversing in and pulling out. There are several places here for a snack.

Marlow is an old town, so it has quite a lot of history. Cheating slightly by mentioning something off the route, Jerome K. Jerome wrote most of the comic classic Three Men in a Boat at the Two Brewers pub. It was he who first said  "I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.” The pub is on St Peters Road: turn left at the double mini-roundabout a bit over halfway to the bridge from the obelisk and then soon right. Incidentally the end of the road offers a good view of Marlow Bridge.
Two Brewers where much of Three Men in a Boat was written

There was a Marlow Bridge as at least far back as the 14th Century. The current suspension bridge was designed by William Tierney Clark and was built between 1829 and 1832, replacing a wooden bridge further downstream which collapsed in 1828.It is only used by cars, pedestrians and cyclists. In 2016 a lorry crossed it, forcing the bridge to close for three months. You can stand in the middle and feel a big wobble with every car

Marlow Bridge, south side

On the right, just across the bridge is Marlow Rowing Club. This is Steve Redgrave's rowing club and also a centre for paralympic development.

Just over the bridge turn left following Quarrywood Road, signposted to Cookham Dean. You cross a plain and then encounter the one serious hill of the route up the side of the escarpment. There is a hairpin bend about a third of the way up, make sure you are visible before you enter it as the vegetation makes it a blind bend. You then descend to Cookham, keeping straight over a series of mini-roundabouts and a level crossing. This road ends in a T junction with the A4094. To your right at the junction is a former chapel painted white that houses the Stanley Spencer Gallery. Sir Stanley Spencer (1891 – 1959), one of the most important British artists of the 20th century, was born in Cookham and spent most of his life in Cookham and nearby. The gallery has a small permanent collection but also runs exhibitions.

Stanley Spencer - view from Cookham Bridge, 1936

Stanley Spencer Gallery

At that junction turn right and the road will take you back to the start.
Cookham house with wisteria

No comments:

Post a Comment