From Henley via Uxbridge to Downing Street

How best to get from Henley-on-Thames by way of Uxbridge to 10 Downing Street in Westminster?  It is a route of 48 miles that is a mixture of town and country, an antidote to the rushed commute, and one that has history behind it.

Robert Walpole, the very first Prime Minister, was an active walker and he walked this route (if a distant memory of a long-forgotten lesson serves).  It is said that Walpole would frequently set off on foot from London and walk to Oxford.  That was an achieving man. The route marked on our map is close to that which Walpole must have taken from Oxfordshire to the heart of government in Westminster; or he might have gone through the middle of Uxbridge, where the Oxford road runs, so our route goes by Uxbridge.

I have written before in praise of walking the suburban wild places, so let us mix town and country in a single walk.  It takes in the countryside of southern Buckinghamshire, and the increasingly suburbanised villages, then the metropolis, but here it Is possible to follow a string of parks to Downing Street itself.  It takes an appreciation of Shakespeare to find the poetry which is found in many of these places, and the route named after the Bard provides much of the route, though in the end, you have to find your own way to Downing Street.

If it is possible to go from Henley to 10 Downing Street, perhaps by way of Uxbridge, following the footsteps of the first Prime Minister, then this is an honest way to do it, on foot.

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