8. Henley, Sonning, White Waltham.
Start: Henley town centre
Distance : 25.4 miles
Roads: Mostly quiet lanes, one or two busier sections-one ford!
Difficulty rating: Easy
Total Climb: 1015 ft
Beauty Rating: 2/5
This is a relatively easy ride covering a decent distance. In the majority of the ride you have exited the Chilterns so the terrain is flat and the riding easy, although the views less impressive. However if you do most of your riding in the hills this can make a nice change. The route intentionally meanders in its first few miles to successfully avoid the busier roads .There is a lot to keep your interest including crossing the bridges at Sonning and fording the stream at Whistley Green. The lanes between Hurst and Knowl Hill are always pleasant and re entering Henley via Aston and Remenham is a pleasing conclusion to the ride.
1. Henley(122ft) – Binfield Heath (315ft) 5.86 miles
From the Parish Church head west along Thameside with the Angel pub on your left. Continue following along the river towards Reading, then as the road bearings right with the station to your left. At the traffic lights go left towards Reading . Take the right hand turn to Peppard and Harspden by the Three Horshoes pub. Follow up, then round past Harpsden Church taking the next left up Woodland Road.. Follow this lovely lane up through the woods and as it bears left at the top. Keep on as you leave the wood and the road descends to the junction. Go straight across to Lower Shiplake. Just before the Baskerville Arms go right down Mill Road. At the end turn right up Mill lane. At the junction it is a quick left, then right to Binfield Heath. Follow past the school going right at the junction on Shiplake Row. Once in the village go left by the village shop towards Dunsden Green.
2.Binfield Heath(315ft)-Hurst (112ft) 6.00 miles
Continue past the Chapel and village hall through Dunsden Green.(this is the home of Lodden Brewery, just off Church Lane if you wish to visit).Continue on the lane as it goes down past the Crown Inn and the Shoulder of Mutton. At the roundabout go straight over to Sonning. At the next rounabout again follow signs to Sonning. Go past the French Horn, and over the two Sonning backwater bridges passing the Mill. Follow the road through the village as it bears left upwards. At the mini roundabout bear left on Charvill lane. At the busy main roundabout take care as you take the Twyford exit straight ahead. Follow past the “motel” for 200 yards turning right onto park lane. Go straight over at the next roundabout .Follow under the railway then past the Lands End Inn(you have just done Henley to Lands End in under an hour!). As you can see there is now a ford to cross! This is not a normal obstacle on a road route but it adds a bit of fun. In winter it can get quite high as you can see from the photo which was taken after heavy rain in February .It is best to remove footwear and walk across(take care as it is slippy). There is also the more sensible option of taking the path just to the right of the pub which leads over a footbridge. Once over follow the stream along the lane and over the stream. At the junction go right and pass the Elephant and Castle pub .In 200 yards turn left down “Whistley Green”. At the busier road go right. Go through the village taking the left down Hinton Road to Ruscombe.
3. Hurst( 112ft ) to White Waltham(125ft) 5.1 miles
Follow Hinton road past the Green Man . At the junction turn right to Sherlock Row. Enjoy the next few miles on these flat roads. In approx ½ mile go left down Hungerford Lane .Follow this straight lane(called the straight mile) for a mile into Sherlock Row. At the junction go straight over to Hawthorn Hill. Follow for a mile turning left down Smewins Road to White Waltham. Follow for almost a mile taking the right hand lane down Kiln Hill. At the junction go straight across to White Waltham, then at next junction go right into the village.
4. White Waltham(125ft) to Cockpole Green (285ft) 4.5 miles
Go past the beehive pub taking the next left to Knowl Hill down Butchers Lane. Follow this quiet lane as it crosses the railway and meanders gently up to Knowl Hill. 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.
5.Cockpole Green(285ft) to Henley(122ft) 4.5 miles
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 and follow passing Remenham Church enjoying glimpses of the river and the hills beyond. The lane runs parallel to the Thames reaching the Little Angel pub. At the road junction turn right over Henley bridge back into town.