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Little Marlow and Bloom Wood

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Little Marlow and Bloom Wood
Author: Claire, Published: 05 Nov 2018 Walk Rating:star0 Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire Walkstar0 Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire Walkstar0 Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire Walkstar0 Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire Walkstar0 Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire Walk
Buckinghamshire, Bourne End
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Little Marlow and Bloom Wood
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire Walk boot Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire Walk
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0002_sunny_intervals Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire WalkToday's weather
8 °C, Partly cloudy, Wind: 12 mph SSW
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0009_light_rain_showers Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire Walk 0002_sunny_intervals Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire Walk 0007_fog Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire Walk 0007_fog Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire Walk 0006_mist Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire Walk

A 5 mile circular walk starting between Bourne End and Little Marlow in Buckinghamshire. The walking route follows a short stretch of the riverside Thames Path, before heading north alongside the beautiful Spade Oak Lake. The remainder of the walk loops through rolling fields and Bloom Wood, following a short stretch of the Chiltern Way and visiting a medieval earthwork along the way. You will be rewarded with far reaching views across Buckinghamshire and Berkshire and there is plenty of wildlife along the way, on the river, on the lake and in the woodland.

The walk follows a mixture of field and woodland paths (which can be muddy) plus some lane and pavement walking. There is a long steady climb (of about 90 metres) up to the woodland from the riverside and then the equivalent descent. The woodland has lots of somewhat confusing paths, so use the iFootpath App’s live GPS map to help with navigation. There are a couple of road crossings over the A4155 that need care and there are a couple of stretches of road walking along country lanes. You will also cross the railway twice at pedestrian crossing points, so be sure to look and listen carefully for trains here. Most of the land is arable or managed for gamebirds (the landowner requests that dogs are on leads for some sections) and you will cross two riverside pastures that may be holding cattle (remember, the riverside path is the busy Thames Path, so the cattle are usually very accustomed to walkers, joggers and dogs). You will need to negotiate several kissing gates but there are no stiles on route. Allow 2.5 hours.

There are plenty of places for refreshments along the way, including pubs in Bourne End and Little Marlow and the farm shop in Little Marlow.

The walk starts and finishes at the Spade Oak countryside car park on Coldmoorholme Lane (free of charge with a 2 metre height restriction barrier) which is managed by Buckinghamshire County Council. From the A404, take the A4155 heading east towards Bourne End. Go straight ahead over the mini-roundabout at Well End and then take the first right into Coldmoorholme Lane. Follow the small lane between houses, past The Spade Oak pub on your left and you will reach the countryside car park on your right. Approximate post code SL8 5PS.

If you are coming by public transport, Bourne End rail station is a half-mile walk along the riverside from Waypoint 1, so you can easily adjust the walk by following the alternative directions in the first section.

Walk Sections

Start to Thames Path Kissing Gate
Start to Thames Path Kissing Gate

Start point: 51.5797 lat, -0.7261 long
End point: 51.5779 lat, -0.7265 long

From the rail station:
If you are starting at the rail station, walk to the far end of the car park, through the fence and follow the path alongside the railway and down the steps to the Thames Path. Follow the Thames Path with the river on your left, heading between fences, past the marina and the wharf and on to reach a metal kissing gate for a field ahead.

From the car park:
Leave the car park via the vehicle entrance and turn right along the quiet lane. You will pass Spade Oak Farm on your left, to reach the gates for the pedestrian level crossing ahead. Take good care to look and listen for trains and then cross the railway when it is safe. You will emerge onto the Thames Path with the river directly ahead. Turn right and you will immediately reach a metal kissing gate.

Thames Path Kissing Gate to Rail Crossing
Thames Path Kissing Gate to Rail Crossing

Start point: 51.5779 lat, -0.7265 long
End point: 51.5769 lat, -0.7345 long

NOTE: The next stretch of the Thames Path crosses a couple of pastures that may be holding cattle. Pass through the gate to enter the first pasture and follow the field edge path, with the river on your left.

At the far side, pass through the gate to enter a second pasture and turn immediately right to walk away from the river with a hedge on your right. At the end of this field you will reach the next pedestrian rail crossing, so once again look and listen carefully for trains before you cross the rail line via the two kissing gates.

Rail Crossing to Little Marlow Church
Rail Crossing to Little Marlow Church

Start point: 51.5769 lat, -0.7345 long
End point: 51.5829 lat, -0.7394 long

Beyond the rail crossing, go ahead on the tree-lined path. Across to your right you will be able to see Spade Oak Lake and there is a permissive path which runs parallel just to your right and gives better lake views.

Spade Oak Lake was formed from gravel and sand extraction which began in 1966. The aggregates from here were used for extensions to the M40 and M4 motorways. The lake is now used for storage and washing of aggregates. The shallow margins with willow, reeds and open areas are a rich habitat for many plants, insects and birds. Look out for kingfishers and great-crested grebes. In the winter months the lake is alive with gulls and geese.

As you near the top of the lake, be sure to swap back to the main left-hand footpath. Beyond the lake, the footpath leads you between a couple of houses. Keep ahead on the tarmac access lane. Go ahead at a crossroads with a concrete track, ignore a footpath signed to the right, cross over a small stream and you will emerge to the end of a road in Little Marlow, with St John the Baptist Church just to your left.

Little Marlow Church to Bloom Wood
Little Marlow Church to Bloom Wood

Start point: 51.5829 lat, -0.7394 long
End point: 51.5958 lat, -0.744 long

Keep straight ahead along the pretty residential road, passing the manor house on your left and noting the beautiful stretches of old flint walls. Continue to the end of the road where you will reach a junction with the Marlow Road (A4155). Cross over with care (there is a crossing island just to your right should you need it) and walk straight ahead into the driveway of the farm shop and antiques centre.

Pass the farm shop buildings on your left and go ahead, passing alongside a vehicle barrier, continuing through the industrial yard and joining the farm track ahead. Follow this stone farm track with fields on your left and a hedgerow on your right. Stay with the track, climbing steadily for about 750 metres to reach a Y-junction with a hedgerow ahead.

Take the right-hand branch, still climbing and with the hedgerow on your left. Take a moment to enjoy the views opening up behind you. A little further up, you will follow a short stretch of track with hedgerows each side. When the hedgerow on your right ends, turn left through a kissing gate (which is easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled) to enter a hillside field. Turn immediately right, following the hedgerow on your right, to reach Bloom Wood ahead.

Bloom Wood to Medieval Earthwork
Bloom Wood to Medieval Earthwork

Start point: 51.5958 lat, -0.744 long
End point: 51.5993 lat, -0.7438 long

Follow the waymarked footpath leading you into the woodland at about 1 o’clock. Follow the path meandering through the trees and then keep ahead to merge with a broader woodland track. Where the broader track bears right, do NOT follow this, instead go ahead to continue on the waymarked footpath. You will emerge to a junction of multiple paths with a waymarker post.

From this point we make a small detour to visit a medieval earthwork, so turn left. Follow the small woodland track. After about 100 metres you will reach a noticeboard on your right, marking the location of the earthwork. The earthwork was probably constructed in medieval times and pieces of tile and pottery have been found in the inner enclosure, suggesting there was a permanent home here. It is likely a stockman and his family lived here, keeping deer or wild boar for hunting purposes.

Medieval Earthwork to Woodland Edge
Medieval Earthwork to Woodland Edge

Start point: 51.5993 lat, -0.7438 long
End point: 51.5963 lat, -0.7326 long

When you have finished at the earthwork, turn around and re-trace your steps back to the last junction. Turn left then immediately right to join the waymarked Chiltern Way. Continue on this woodland path until you reach a staggered crossroads, marked with a couple of waymarker posts.

Turn right here, leaving the Chiltern Way to join a woodland footpath. You will soon pass between a yellow arrow waymarker on your right and a white arrow on a tree trunk on your left, confirming your path. Continue straight ahead to follow the broad track through the beech woodland. As you approach the woodland edge, follow the white tree trunk arrows which guide you through the last few trees to reach a kissing gate at the woodland edge.

Woodland Edge to Mini Roundabout
Woodland Edge to Mini Roundabout

Start point: 51.5963 lat, -0.7326 long
End point: 51.5857 lat, -0.7251 long

Pass through the kissing gate to exit the woodland and take a moment to enjoy the far-reaching views across the valley. You will be able to see Spade Oak Lake, with the River Thames behind and the county of Berkshire beyond.

Turn left to reach the end of the field and then turn right to follow the grass path leading you downhill with a hedgerow on your left. Stay alongside the hedgerow on your left, down to the bottom field corner. Keep straight ahead along the green track between hedgerows, emerging to the small village of Fern.

Go ahead on the residential lane and, as you approach the cemetery entrance ahead, stay with the main lane which swings right and then winds ahead to reach a T-junction with the Marlow Road (A4155). Taking care of traffic, cross over the road to reach the far pavement and turn left along this. This pavement will lead you to the mini-roundabout in Well End.

Mini Roundabout to End
Mini Roundabout to End

Start point: 51.5857 lat, -0.7251 long
End point: 51.5798 lat, -0.726 long

Go straight ahead and then take the first right turn into Coldmoorholme Lane. Taking care of any access traffic, follow this quiet lane leading you between properties. Coldmoorholme Lane has a strong literary connection, as the children’s author Enid Blyton lived here in the property called Old Thatch from 1929 to 1938.

After a double-bend in the road you will pass Old Thatch on your left and the Spade Oak pub also on your left. Beyond the pub, the lane crosses a stream and then leads you back to the car park on your right where the walk began. (If you need to return to the rail station, continue on the lane to cross the railway and reach the riverside, then turn left to retrace your steps.)

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network Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire Walk Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by iFootpath and the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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2 Gallery Images for: "Little Marlow and Bloom Wood"

12076_0Richard1541410407 Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire Walk Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 05 Nov 2018
An old store next to the farm shop and antiques centre
12076_1Richard1541410407 Little Marlow and Bloom Wood - Buckinghamshire Walk Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 05 Nov 2018
St John the Baptist Church, Little Marlow

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