The Beast of Marlow, 9.99 miles, moderate

May 26, 2024 @ 10:45 am – 4:30 pm
Pound Lane / Court Garden car park (outside the Marlow Museum)
Court Garden
Pound Ln, Marlow SL7 2AE

A 9.99-mile (beastly shaped) walk around Marlow and the surrounding countryside, featuring sites of special scientific interest, nature reserves and a range of wildlife sculptures.

Advance booking is not required, but if you plan on attending this walk, please indicate this on Meetup if you can, so others can see that there will be plenty of people going.

Pace: medium. Ascent: 220m.

Walk details

We commence todays walk at the Beast’s bottom, heading along the Thames path towards Temple Lock. At this point we leave the river behind, passing through the Harleyford Golf Club with its numerous wooden wildlife sculptures. Hopefully the golfers have better golf skills than me and we will avoid being hit by any stray golf balls!

Next we pass through an assortment of woodland including Pullingshill Wood which contains the best and most complete set of First World War training trenches left in the UK. There are around 1400m of trenches, dug 2m deep and 2m wide, which were constructed in June 1915 by troops from the Grenadier Guards (4th Battalion) under the command of Colonel Corry.

We will pause for lunch in Homefield Wood, a site of special scientific interest (and also the Beast’s head). The nature reserve is made up of beech, ash, sycamore and whitebeam with glades and open grassland. It is also home to a number of rare orchids, butterflies and moths.

After lunch and a short uphill stretch it is across fields back in the direction of Marlow. The ancient oak trees at Marlow Common are over 100 years old and are home to the Green Tortrix Moth, which in turn is a vital food source supporting a diversity of bird species including the endangered Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreepers and the Nuthatch. Whilst I cannot guarantee we will see any of these birds on our walk, we will pass a family of (wooden) owls.

Hopefully (weather dependent) there will be the opportunity to stop for a well earned drink in the garden of the Royal Oak in Bovingdon Green before the final mile back to the start point.

Although most of the walk is relatively flat, there are a couple of climbs in places.

Travel details

By public transport

There is a train to from Reading departing 09:42 (change in Maidenhead) arriving in Marlow at 10:26. The start point of this walk is a short 12 minute walk away from the station through residential streets.

By car

Parking is available in Pound Lane car park where charges apply. Marlow also has other car parks, some of which are slightly cheaper.


  • Please bring a packed lunch and a drink.
  • It might be muddy – please wear suitable footwear.
  • Please feel free to contact the leader with queries about the walk, or if you are delayed on the day.