A walk along the Thames from Marlow to the Flower Pot pub, Aston

With close family in Dorset and Buckinghamshire, Tiff and I are lucky to have lots of nice places to take the dog when we visit them.

When we’re staying with Tiff’s dad in Marlow, we often drive a couple of miles into the Chilterns and then park in Hambleden and make the shortish walk across the bridges at Hambleden Lock and up the hill to the Flower Pots pub.

However, with the weather forecast looking semi-promising on Saturday morning and the promise of a lift back to Marlow, we decided to walk the six-or-so miles along the Thames Path National Trail to the pub instead.

It was drizzly when we left Marlow, but the misty clouds quickly burned away to reveal the sun. The walk took us through Marlow’s Higginson Park past the statue of Sir Steve Redgrave and along the north bank of the river past Temple and Hurley.

As soon as we reached the river’s edge, Tilly was up to her usual tricks, attempting to chase ducks and rowers, barking at the swirls and waves created by the fast-moving river and even chewing metal poles sticking up from the shoreline (she’s an odd one at times). If she wasn’t on her lead, I’m sure she’d be somewhere in the North Sea by now.

By the time we crossed to the south side of the river at Hurley, we were beginning to lose momentum and the last half through open flood plains and the newly created deer park at Culham Court, home to Swiss financier Urs Schwarzenbach. We also saw more wildlife, including various ducklings and chicks and a heron surveying its parish.

Finally, after what seemed like days, we turned the corner to see the Flower Pots pub in our sights, Tiff’s dad already seated on a wooden picnic bench in the spacious, grassy beer garden. All that left was to get some drinks and crisps to nurse our thirst/hunger.

The pub itself has two bar areas. The “main” bar is the more traditional of the two areas, with various seats, tables, stools and benches scattered throughout the narrow space. The dining area is lighter and more spacious, with a slightly more modern look. Both bars have open fires and lots of taxidermy adorning the walls. The main bar is definitely dog friendly as we’ve taken Tilly in there on previous visits. I’m not sure about the dining bar, though.

Anyway, Tiff chose a pint of Thatcher’s Gold cider (which unfortunately came in a Magner’s glass) while I went for a pint of Brakspear Bitter. There were also a couple of Ringwood Ales on offer.

Even though it tasted OK, I wasn’t bowled over by the beer, but I don’t think I’ve ever been that impressed by Brakspear beers in the past anyway. We also had a couple of packets of crisps with our drinks, which is the law as far as I’m concerned. It all came to a eyebrow raising £10.20 – more than I’m used to paying in my neck of the woods!

It was then back into the garden to watch Tilly while she watched the pub’s chickens and peacocks as they occasionally found their way through or over the fence.