Staines to Windsor along the River Thames
County/Area - Surrey & Berkshire
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 9.0 miles / 14.6 km Ascent - 150 feet / 45 metres
Time - 4 hours 40 minutes Grade - easy/mod
|Ordnance Survey Explorer 160||Sheet Map||1:25k||BUY|
|Anquet OS Explorer 160||Digital Map||1:25k||BUY|
|Ordnance Survey Landranger 176||Sheet Map||1:50k||BUY|
|Anquet OS Landranger 176||Digital Map||1:50k||BUY|
Walk Route Description
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This linear walk follows the Thames Path National Trail along the River Thames between Staines and Windsor. The route is easy to follow has no uphill sections and offers a wide range of interest along the way. The walk was researched by parking in Windsor and taking one of the relatively frequent trains from Windsor Riverside station to Staines and walking back to the car. The car park used (grid ref. SU970773) is alongside the B470 Datchet to Windsor, which can be easily reached from Junction5 on the M4. Do remember that Windsor can be very busy and parking problematic so an early arrival to start the walk is recommended.
After alighting from the train at Staines (grid ref. TQ041714) exit the station on the south side of the railway. To do this, cross the footbridge and turn right along Gresham Road. Continue to Laleham Road (B376) and turn right into the centre of the town. Just after passing under the railway bridge bear left and locate the Thames Path, which is alongside the river. Follow the path north (upstream) to the next bridge over the river. Climb the steps onto the bridge, cross the river and then descend to the river bank on the other side.
Continue along the Thames Path upstream with the river on your right. The way ahead is clear and easy to follow. Quite soon you walk under the M25 to reach the first lock and weir of this walk. Continuing towards Windsor you reach an area of open grassland "Runnymede" where refreshments/toilets are available a short way from the riverside path adjacent to the main road. Continue beside the river perhaps noting Cooper's Hill to your left with the RAF Memorial placed high on its slopes.
This area has much historical significance most notable of which is the sealing of the Magna Carta by King John in June 1215. The Magna Carta subsequently influenced the development of common law and many constitutional documents, including the United States Constitution. The river swings in a great arc and flows beside the A308 road from Staines to Windsor. The relative quiet of the first section is replaced by the hum of traffic and after approximately 1/2 mile you reach the point where you are opposite the Magna Carta Monument. To reach the monument, cross the road with care and follow the signed path. Celebrating the signing of the Magna Carta, the monument marks an historic period in British Government and law.
After visiting the monument to the Magna Carta return to the gate and turn left. A little further along on the left are a flight of steps that lead up to the J. F. Kennedy Mermorial. Return to the foot of the steps and turn left across the grass aiming for the two red-roofed cottages either side of the main road, one of which contains a National Trust cafe and toilets. Cross the main road with care to regain the riverside path and continue upstream. There is no need for too much navigational description so enjoy the walk. The path regains less built up land near Ham Island where you pass another large lock and weir. Shortly after you reach Albert Bridge (grid ref. SU984756), which you need to cross. You also need to cross the road and again great care is needed at this location.
Once across the road and the bridge take the footpath on your left. This takes you around the perimeter of a field and leads to the B3021. From here you get your first views into Windsor Home Park on the west side of the Thames. This road is followed through Datchet until you regain a riverside path once more at grid ref. SU983770. Note that this not that clearly signed and you need to be vigilant and not miss the path. Once located the path takes you alongside the Thames to the next bridge offering views across the river to Windsor Castle and Home Park.
Reaching the bridge (grid ref. SU979774), climb up to the road, cross the bridge and cross the road. To reach the Thames Path scamper down the grass embankment and continue alongside the river, which should still be on your right. You are now in the public section of Home Park (the section seen previously is for the private use of the Royal Family). The path leads under the railway past Romney Lock from where you get good views across the river to Eton College. Shortly after you reach Windsor Riverside station from where it is a short walk back to the recommended car park. If you reserves of time and energy then it is only a short walk to Windsor Castle and the historic town centre.
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Recommended Books & eBooks
The Thames Path Map Booklet
Map of the 180 mile (288km) Thames Path National Trail, from London's Thames Barrier to the river's source near Cirencester in Gloucestershire. This booklet is included with the Cicerone guidebook to the trail, and shows the full route on OS 1:25,000 maps. The easy riverside route takes around two weeks to walk.