Walk 1385 - printer friendly version
Windsor & Runnymede Walk
Author - Peter Smyly
Length - 11.5 miles / 18.7 km
Ascent - 600 feet / 182 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference SU967772
Lat 51.485495 + Long -0.60872791
Postcode SL4 1AE (approx. location only)
This walks starts and ends within sight of the world's largest and oldest occupied castle, Windsor Castle, and follows a circular route in a-clockwise direction that takes in part of the Thames Pathway, and visits the Magna Carta monument and John F Kennedy memorial at Runnymede before returning through Windsor Great Park. The best view of the walk is saved for the last section of the route, the view from Snow Hill along the Three Castles Path with Windsor Castle framed between trees at the end of The Long Walk. The walk can be done using public transport by rail since Windsor and Eton Riverside and Windsor and Eton Central stations are centrally situated near the castle and are just a few minutes walk from each other.
At Windsor and Eton Bridge, leave the road by following the riverside path to the north east initially with the railway line on the right. Windsor Castle is seen in the distance on the right beyond the Home Park Recreation Ground before the route crosses a busy main road, the B470, and crosses Victoria Bridge. Immediately after the bridge, continue to the right along the riverside path which can be muddy in places. The Thames Pathway leaves the river and follows alongside a busy main road for a few hundred yards before signs indicate the continuation of the route with a sharp right turn along a narrow path bordering a field on the left to reach the river again. At Albert Bridge, the route switches over to the other side of the river and then continues all the way to Runnymede, the last section going alongside Windsor Road before passing alongside the river as it approaches Runnymede. Cross the busy road to reach a tea shop, public conveniences, car park and a notice board explaining about local walks, apparently suitable for families with young children.
Here a slight digression can be made by following an inviting path across a grassy field to view the Magna Carta monument a short distance up a hillside, then, going back across the field, instead of returning to the car park, the route turns left up a hill up cobbled granite steps through woodland to reach the John F Kennedy Memorial before following roads to reach Windsor Park. Beyond the memorial to the left, the route leads up a road to a T junction. Cross the busy A4328 (Priest Hill) and go left, then turn right into Ridgemead Road, then left at the road called Crimp Hill then right into Bishopsgate Road.
At Windsor Great Park, there are different possible ways to reach Snow Hill, one of them being via Cow Pond to the south-west, a long, rectangular artificial body of water which was previously overgrown but it has been restored by the Cow Pond Restoration Project. It is now covered with water lilies. Although not included in this route, the lake at Virginia Water is only about a mile to the south from this point. The route next leads past the private Cumberland Lodge and on to the Three Castles Path. Snow Hill is clearly visible from afar, notable for its bronze statue of George III on a horse atop an artificial rock outcrop. Deer may be seen grazing in the vicinity and, once over the brow of Snow Hill, the eye leads down along The Long Walk, a straight tarmac road that leads all the way back to Windsor Castle which is seen all the way. There is one more very busy road to cross en route, the A308.