Monday, 10 April 2017


Cookham seen from Cookham Dean

We met up with our friends Chris and Philippa to do this circular walk starting at Cookham Station which I found on Christopher Somerville's website.

We headed east towards Cookham Dean and climbed across fields to soon have a good view back. Our brief encounter with Cookham Dean consisted of a rage green with some Edwardian houses on one side ...

... and the pretentious sounding Sanctum on the Green Inn at right angles at one end. The stained glass was very attractive however.

We headed round the side of the pub and crossed fields to enter Quarry Wood. We followed a rather lovely sunken track (I should have taken a picture), but slightly lost our way and ended up close to the busy A404 road. We found a pleasant path heading in the right direction and followed it parallel to the Thames. We were puzzled to find an area to our find which was fenced off and which then had coils of razor wire inside the fence to deter intruders. What could it be?

We emerged from the wood on the edge of the scattered settlement of Cookham Dean and followed a road for a while before taking a grassy track, still parallel to the river. This was the view back at the point at which we turned towards the river to meet the tow path.

Soon we passed a rather fine scarecrow which seemed at first sight to be somebody rather formally dressed, perhaps with a shooting stick. The zoom lens photo suggests a female manikin in an all-in-one suit.

The river was wide and a bit featureless when we did finally reach it.

As we approached the eccentric but entertaining Bounty Inn on our side,  we saw Bourne End Marina on the other. The houses were rather good reproductions of Edwardian Thameside houses and seemed very much in keeping.

Next was the railway bridge, which has on this side a footbridge which looks like a later but very useful addition.

In a mile or so we reached Cookham Bridge and turned right to walk through the church yard of Holy Trinity church (Norman, with the usual later additions, alterations and renovations).

In the churchyard was a memorial to the artist Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) who was born in Cookham and spent most of his life there.

At the Junction of Ferry Lane and High Street stands the Stanley Spencer Gallery, which had been intended to be a feature of our walk - unfortunately it is closed on Monday.

We headed along the High St to pass Fernlea, the house where Spencer was born.

At the end it opens out into a wide and attractive green. At the end of this is a quite large and rather traditional-looking brick bridge which crosses a very small stream. It turned out to have been built as a memorial early in the 20th century. We spent a few entertaining minutes pondering the impact if more people had a memorial bridge built for them rather than the more usual memorial stone.

Continuing in the same direction we soon reached the station and the end of our walk.

Conditions: Cool and grey.

Distance: 7.5 miles.

From: Christopher Somerville's website. Originally published in The Times, where a word limit led to the walk description being very compressed and not easy to follow.

Rating: Three and a half stars.

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