The best countryside walks in Berkshire
England’s pretty home counties are filled with picturesque views and beautiful old towns. We’ve selected the best walks within reach of Coworth Park, offering everything from ancient barge routes and country pubs to a historic royal hunting ground.
Distance: 9.9 miles/15.9km
This circular ramble in and around Virginia Water has a rich regal history and plenty of cultural character. Head out from the train station to catch glimpses of the celebrity-studded mansions on the Wentworth Estate as you skirt the famous Wentworth Golf Course and the grounds of Coworth Park. Continuing through to Virginia Water lake – the picnic spot of choice for Queen Victoria – this trail showcases the best of the area’s famous views, passing Roman ruins, cascading waterfalls and a 30m/100ft totem pole gifted to the HM The Queen by British Columbia. Finish the walk with a ramble through Windsor Great Park, a 13th-century royal hunting ground known today for its gorgeous gardens and free-roaming red deer.
The Thames Path – Windsor to Runnymede
Distance: 11.5 miles/185km
Any visit to the Royal County should include a sighting of its most famous landmark, so we’ve included this spectacular walk which starts and ends with a panorama of Windsor Castle. Admire William the Conqueror’s lasting legacy on foot and follow this 11.5-mile/18.5km circular walk around Berkshire. The route takes in a section of the iconic Thames Pathway, as well as stops at the famous JFK memorial and Magna Carta monument in Runnymede. The views from Windsor Great Park are a sensory finale. Head along the Three Castles Path to reach the copper horse at Snow Hill and drink in the stunning castle backdrop to the famous Long Walk.
Ramblers Route Bracknell Forest
Distance: Southern Loop 13miles/20km / Northern Loop 19miles/30.5km
The countryside throughout Bracknell Forest is host to a superb selection of walking trails and this route through some of Berkshire’s prettiest parishes is one of its best. Taking you from the sights of Bracknell and Wokingham to the quaint country parishes of Binfield, Warfield and Winkfield, this circular walk is made up of two loops that can be easily completed as smaller circular trails. A good place to start and end your walk is the Look Out Discovery Centre on the edge of Swinley Forest. From here, it’s all about ticking off those famous sites – walk along an old Roman road, spot the famous Wellington College and discover the childhood home of 18th-century poet Alexander Pope.
The River Wey Navigations stretch through the heart of nearby Surrey and are the perfect place to enjoy a peaceful riverside ramble. Starting the trail just past the old boatyard on Thames Street, join the towpath in Weybridge to meander the river route originally taken by the last of the old commercial barges. Spot delightfully remote old corn mills and original river locks as you amble along the Wey’s pretty banks. Add on a post-walk trip to Dapdune Wharf in Guildford to see two of the last historic Wey barges that are still on show.
The Wind in the Willows Trail
Combine a gentle walk with some seriously pretty views on this 5-mile trail circling the countryside around Cookham Dean. Starting at Cookham Dean Common – once part of the Royal Manor of Cookham – this quiet walk is the perfect combination of woodland, farmland and some of the most delicate little village lanes. Stumble across one of the world’s smallest libraries in Bigfrith Common’s famous phone box and stop for snaps of the 16th-century timber cottages characterfully clustered along the bottom of the valley. A detour through the Quarry and Fultness Woods – especially if you catch the bluebell-and-orchid mix in the springtime – is as quintessentially picturesque as their ‘Wild Wood’ inspiration in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows.
Distance: 5 miles/8km
Venture across the border into neighbouring Buckinghamshire to find this gloriously leafy walking route through the Burnham Beeches. Still thriving as one of the country’s oldest ancient woodlands, this national treasure is a lovely spot to visit in the autumn months when the forest explodes into atmospheric colour. Look out for wild animals foraging beside the 400-year-old oak trees and see the remains of an ancient moat – one of three Scheduled Ancient Monuments on the estate. Add in a stop mid-walk to refuel with a delicious lunch in a pretty country pub.
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