Henley-in-Arden (West)

Circular Walk 18 (5.5 Miles)

Walk Overview

This delightful walk starts from the 15th century church of St John the Baptist, situated on the corner of the High Street and Beaudesert Lane in Henley-in-Arden. (It is usually possible to park for up to 4 hours at the top of Beaudesert Lane, but please check the restrictions). Alternatively you can park and start at Henley Railway Station, which is just three minutes into the walk. The route takes us across mostly flat farmland with a few inclines. The first part of the walk incorporates an attractive section of The Millennium Way, where you will be guided by the distinctive black and white waymarkers. There are plenty of pubs, cafes and shops right by the start/finish of our circular. This walk can be continued into Henley East to make it a 10 mile day out with a stop for lunch in Henley.

Walk Details

  • Start: Beaudesert Lane, Henley-in-Arden, B95 5BA
  • Start Grid Ref: Ref: SP151 660
  • Parking: On street with restrictions
  • Refreshments:
    • White Swan (01564 792623)
    • Nags Head (01564 793120)
    • Henley Ice Cream and Tearoom (01564 795192)
  • Maps: OS Explorer 220 or OS Landranger 151
  • Distance: 5½ miles
  • Time: 2½ hours
  • Stiles: 15 (not all dog friendly)
  • Download: Walk GPS (GPS Exchange Format, GPX)
  • GPS and GPX explained
  • Find a mobile app on the Apple App Store or Google Play

Updated May 2022

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Walk Instructions

Section A

We start on the main Millennium Way trail. With your back to St John the Baptist church on corner of High Street and Beaudesert Lane in Henley-in-Arden, we go right (past the Guild House). After a few yards cross road at the pedestrian crossing and go left along High Street for 30 paces to turn right up alleyway signed to The Station. Stay up alleyway and through the car park of the White Swan. Continue following signs to station into Swan Croft. At the end of alleyway cross road bearing slightly left then go up slope on right to cross the station railway bridge. Continue forward on fenced path with allotments on both sides and take metal kissing gate. Go ahead through further metal gate and then along tree lined passage (be careful of low branches) to go left through another metal gate. Ignore kissing gate immediately on right and go with trees right to find footbridge with metal rails.

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St John the Baptist Church

Cross footbridge over ditch, under fallen branch, to take kissing gate. Go slightly right along tree covered path with hedge on left and right and into sunken way up to stile. Cross stile and go up steps to reach field. Go up field over summit, then stay ahead to pass through a fence gap and past an isolated piece of fencing with waymarks and continue down to take tricky stile to road opposite Well Cottage.

Section B

Cross main road carefully, then go up drive to right of Well Cottage (take a moment to look down old well) and cross interesting stile in brick wall to right of gate. Go ahead over stile into small orchard. Continue forward over stile into paddock and cross another stile into field. Go diagonally left down field keeping trees right to reach another stile near field corner. Cross stile and go right down steep steps, then left across culverted ditch to cross another stile then forward to metal footbridge over stream. Turn diagonally right across field to pass marker post and on to stile in hedge. Cross stile and go diagonally left across field, maintaining same direction, to cross stile in hedge and continue diagonally left to take another stile by gate in hedge. (There is a commemorative wooden bench to Jim Chambers here if you would like to sit a while and enjoy the wonderful view).

Go diagonally right down field to cross stile and wooden planked footbridge over deep ditch. Continue forward to cross damaged stile in next hedge and stay ahead towards narrow field corner gap by solitary oak tree. Take gap and continue along with hedge right. Go through gap in hedge at field corner and stay along next field with hedge right. At the field corner, where there may be noisy dogs, go through gap in hedge to reach lane (here we leave the Millennium Way).

Section C

Turn left and walk up lane for 3/4 mile, passing the edge of Five Acre Wood. Continue past a farm on right to where a side road joins from the right. Ignore side road and continue along lane for 250 yards to take waymarked public footpath on left through a "gate in a gate". Proceed along track and stay ahead with hedge left. Where hedge ends continue ahead on wide grassy path. Go through metal gate ahead and continue with wire fence and hedge right.

Where the hedge turns slightly right stay ahead to take kissing gate just to right of large tree. Stay ahead on the enclosed path to take next kissing gate into field. Bear right here and go along field edge (which can be overgrown in summer) with wire fence left and hedge right. On reaching field corner go through metal gate and continue ahead on track between trees. Stay ahead past open hay barn to pass through next metal gate to T-junction of tracks. Go sightly left to take metal gate then turning left to go through another metal gate keeping wire fence on your left. Continue past farms to take stile to road.

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More stunning views

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Crops in flower

Section D

Cross road and take stile slightly right opposite continuing up slope with hedge and trees left. At the top of the slope take metal kissing gate and go ahead between wooden fences to take wooden gate just to left of farm buildings. Go ahead across driveway (avoid walking into private property) and take very small gap in fence, and then go a short distance with fence left to exit by awkward gate in corner. Take gate and turn right on track to cross railway bridge

Stay ahead on track to pass old Warwickshire College building right until you reach the main A3400 road. Turn left and go across the traffic lights into Henley High Street. You will pass the famous Henley Ice Cream Parlour and Tea Room on your left and the Nag's Head on your right - both worth a visit. Soon you will arrive back at St. John the Baptist church opposite the White Swan. There are numerous pubs and restaurants in Henley for refreshments.

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Henley famous ice creams

Points of Interest - What to know and what to see...

by Andy Botherway
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Guild House
Henley in Arden

Henley-in-Arden

Henley-in-Arden's mile-long High Street is a conservation area with several interesting buildings.

Next to St. John the Baptist church is the 15th Century timber-framed Guildhall. Its collection of civic relics includes furniture, pewter plate (1677), maces, manorial rolls and the 1449 charter that granted privileges to Henley. The Guildhall and its walled garden can be viewed on application to the custodian at the Guild Cottage.

Henley has had two railway stations. The present station, which we cross, was opened in July 1908 and is on the Shakespeare Line from Birmingham to Stratford on Avon. The line has twice survived threats of closure, but is now much more heavily utilised. This is the only circular to start and finish so near a railway station. The Shakespeare Express steam train runs on this line on Sundays in the summer. The traditional station buildings have recently been improved and a new bridge was installed.

Our "out and back" circular route into the countryside, to Upper Wawensmoor, then returning past May’s Hill Farm, although a very pleasant walk with good views, has little of historic interest. However, once we get back to Henley, there are some significant buildings to note.

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House of William James

The first to be seen, about 200m from the traffic lights on the left is The Yew Trees, a very fine grade II listed timber-framed house from 1579.

Look for the plaque to William James (1771–1837), a sadly neglected pioneer railway promoter, who was born in Henley.

The famous Henley ice-cream shop comes next, on the corner of School Road.

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William James Plaque

This 16th Century building has served fine ice-cream and teas etc since 1934. I defy you to walk past!

Henley Heritage Centre, (free entry) immediately after the ice-cream shop is a rare architectural gem. The oldest parts of the house have been dated to 1345. Displays and documents show the development of the building over six centuries

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