1.Marlow –Berks,Bucks and Oxon 30 mile Loop
Start: Marlow town centre
Distance: 29.2 miles
Roads: Almost all rural lanes, only a few short busier stretches.
Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult. Three significant hills.
Total climb: 1795 feet
Beauty rating: 4/5
This routes links the riverside towns of Marlow and Henley via a beautiful 30 mile loop avoiding the busy main roads normally linking the towns. The three counties of Berks, Bucks and Oxon are spanned with some terrific views along the way. There a 3 sharp climbs to experience each one increasing in severity. The route begins at Marlow with Winter Hill, then after Henley you climb quickly up to 600 ft at Fawley , lastly battling up Colstrope Hill which is the toughest of the lot. There are lots of opportunities for stops including the ever popular Flowerpot Pub at Aston which is halfway.
1 . Marlow (101ft) to Pinkneys Green (210ft) 4.25 miles
From Marlow High Street go south crossing its famous suspension bridge. Once over the Thames go left by the Compleat Angler hotel towards Cookham Dean on Quarry Woods Road. Follow road passing Longridge centre then under the A404 bridge. The roads really starts to climb now as you tackle Winter Hill. The hill is at its steepest as you round the sharp bend ,the climbing of which is always a rite of passage to any new Marlow cyclist. At the top of the hill turn right onto Grubwood Lane. Pass the Copas turkey farm on your left and follow road as it bears right then left to Pinkneys Green . Go past the lovely orchard then Cookham Dean common. At the junction turn right onto Winter Hill road. Follow for just over a mile until the junction where you turn left to Maidenhead then take first right down Pinkneys Green Drive. Follow road as it passes cricket club and Stag and Hounds pub.
2.Pinkneys Green(210ft) to Knowl Hill (223 ft) 6.05 miles
Continue as road crosses Pinkneys Green Common . At the junction turn left to Reading on the Henley road and follow this straight road to the roundabout. This is a busy roundabout so take care as you go straight across onto Common Lane to White Waltham. Follow under the A404 and keep straight on as you pass the Thatched cottage pub and go under the railway. At the roundabout turn right to White Waltham. Follow past White Waltham airfield then into the village where you turn right onto Butchers Lane by the War memorial. Follow this quiet lane as it crosses the railway and meanders gently up to Knowl Hill.
3. Knowl Hill (223ft) to Henley(128ft) 6.97 mile.
At the A4 take great care as you go left then go to the middle of the road to turn right to Warren Row and Cockpole Green. You now unofficially re-enter the Chiltern Hills again as you climb up. Follow as it bears left and goes through Warren Row past the tin Chapel and the Old House pub. Keep follow the road to Cockpole Green.
At Cockpole Green keep straight on to Remenham Hill .This primarily flat lane will lead you to the main A4130 Henley/Maidenhead road. Go left then next right down Aston Lane towards the Flowerpot Pub. Follow downward to the bottom where you will find the Flowerpot pub(lovely pub with great garden and lots of stuffed animals!). At the pub turn left down Remenham Lane .
There is often a lot of stones and debris on the road on Remenham lane but the it does gives terrific views of the river, Temple island and hills beyond. You pass the beautiful Remenham Church and continue running alongside the Thames until you reach the Little angel pub and main Henley to Maidenhead road. Turn right to cross over Henley bridge .
4.Henley (128ft) to Luxters Vineyard( 543ft) 5.30 miles
On the other side of the bridge go straight over at the lights up the High Street. At the next set of lights turn right down Bell Street towards Marlow/Wallingford. At the two mini roundabouts go straight over then towards Wallingford and Nettlebed on the Straight Mile. You follow this dead straight road for exactly a mile (hence the name straight mile!). Turn right to the Assendons just before the dual carriage way begins. Take the first right to Fawley following the brown Chiltern Cycleway signs. Prepare to climb as you are about to ascend very quickly. Follow as the lane meanders round , then left at the top following Fawley signs at the junction. Travel through Fawley passing the church and the pond. Keep straight on to Southend and Turville Heath passing the derelict Walnut tree pub, then follow as it descends then climbs again with impressive high level views to your left. At the sharp left in the road go right onto the singletrack road follow the cycleway signs. Follow lane retaining your height as you travel through the glorious Gusset woods until you reach Luxters Vineyard and brewery.
5. Luxters Vineyard(543ft) to Marlow(101ft) 6.8 miles
After the vineyard you descend very quickly by 300 feet in ½ mile. However this is a downhill to be savoured as the views are stunning and amongst the best in the Chilterns. Take your time and look out for deer in the large field to your left. At the bottom turn right following cycleway signs , and travel for ½ mile turning left to Colstrope on Colstrope lane, again following cycleway signs. Follow round to the left past Colstrope House and farm then follow upwards keeping straight on through the woods. This is a hellish climb and the hardest today climbing over 300 ft in under a mile. At the top by the red phone box turn left still following signs. At St Katherines convent turn right towards Marlow. Keep straight on following Marlow signs. At junction turn left to Marlow passing Chisbridge farm and descend to junction at the bottom. Turn right here and follow road for 3 miles to Marlow passing Bovingdon Green and the Royal Oak pub .From the pub you descend into town via Chalkpit lane and the Oxford road.