Beginning your journey at Egham railway station, follow the trail around the breath-taking Runnymede nature reserve, maintained by The National Trust. Admire the towering ancient oak trees that line the path through Coopers Hill Wood, which, during winter and without their leaves, allows you a greater look at their beautifully intricate detailing and crooked, knotted statures. Meander along further and you’ll see the impressive Magna Carta memorial up ahead, then, passing by Langham Pond on your right and through the rich wildflower meadows beyond, you’ll be on the home straight, joining Coopers Hill Lane back toward Egham railway station. This walk takes approximately 2 hours and totals a distance of 3.7 miles, so make sure to pack the flask of hot chocolate!
Starting in the Virginia Water car park, located at the bottom of Windsor Great Park, head left and wander toward the impressive ten-metre Cascade, originally built in the 1750s along with a cave and grotto. As the clear water tumbles over the rocks, turn your attention to the path ahead and begin to make your way in the direction of the first pond head, where you’ll have stunning views of the lake that glitters magically in the winter sun. Next, walk a short way further and you’ll stumble upon breath-taking ruins from the ancient Roman city of Leptis Magna, which sits, now abandoned, on the shores of the Mediterranean, near Tripoli. Amble further for another mile or so, and you’ll come across the Five-Arch Bridge, built between 1822 and 1827. On crossing, you can admire another angle of the glorious lake. You will now be nearly halfway around the trail, and if you walk for another two miles, you’ll be standing at the foot of the towering Totem Pole, erected in 1958 to mark the centenary of the establishment of British Columbia as a Crown Colony. This walking trail should take just under two hours and totals a distance of 4.48 miles. With so many interesting sights to see along the way, bring the kids along and enjoy with the whole family.
This scenic walk trails around the north-east section of Windsor Great Park, with your journey beginning at The Fox and Hounds Pub on Bishopsgate Road, Englefield Green – a perfect excuse to stop and enjoy some warming pub food before heading out into the chilly winter air. With fish and chips sitting happily in a refuelled stomach, head out and make your way to your first stop – Cow Pond and Chapel Wood. The former was renovated in 2012 to commemorate H.M. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, with the diamond lattice balustrade of the footbridge being created especially to represent the occasion. In nearby Chapel Wood, admire the Japanese maples and, during the late winter months, appreciate the colourful and sweetly-perfumed witch hazels. Continue along the trail for just over a mile and a half and you will arrive at Ox Pond, before venturing up to the impressive Copper Horse – an equestrian statue of George III that was erected in 1831 and sits on a stone plinth at the top of Snow Hill. From here, you can gaze down below at the iconic view of The Long Walk, which runs all the way towards Windsor Castle. Herds of Red Deer can usually be spotted too, with about 500 of them roaming freely around the Deer Park enclosure. Once you have appreciated this stunning scene and taken a photo or two, turn right and follow the trail back down to meet Bishopsgate Road and the Fox and Hounds pub. The trail will take approximately an hour and a half and totals a distance of 3.74 miles.
Last on our list is Staines Moor – a historic nature reserve covering 500 hectares of countryside, meadows and the Staines and King George VI reservoirs. Having been common land since 1065, the Moor has a deep-rooted history and as such, possesses a slightly dramatic and unique atmosphere. An area of natural beauty, Staines Moor is one of three Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the Spelthorne Borough due to its important floral species, wintering wildfowl and waders. The River Colne is another reason to visit. Snaking its way through the park, this is a perfect spot for avid bird-watchers – keep an eye out for stonechats, snipes, water pipits and the occasional short-eared owl that emerge over the chilly winter months. The Moor can be accessed either via Moor Lane, Stanwell Moor or by footpath near Wraysbury Gardens. The latter entrance is the starting point for the short circular walk designed by Colne Valley Park. A total distance of 3.5 miles, the trail will present you with glorious views of the Thames, historic Staines, the ancient common land and Lammas Lakes. Make sure to wrap up warm!