14 January 2023. This walk replaced one on the original programme that was impassable on the recce due to severe flooding. Even the route of this replacement had to be amended in parts to avoid flooded areas. The weather forecast was for heavy rain in the morning, but we were lucky as there was only some drizzle apart from a 10 minutes downpour. The afternoon had lots of blue skies and some winter sun.
We started from Egham station at about 10am with 14 people. We walked on pavements for about 30 minutes until we entered Windsor Great Park, passing through trees and then beside the huge lake, Virginia Water.
We reached the Cascade, a man-made waterfall, which was particularly impressive due to the large volume of water flowing over the rocks.
We turned away from Virginia Water into woods until we reached the lunch stop. After eating their sandwiches, the picnickers joined the rest of the group eating in The Belvedere Arms where the food was excellent.
Following lunch, we re-entered Windsor Great Park at Blacknest Gate, walking across two bridges and turning into Valley Gardens.
Here we came across strange looking, pollarded Salex trees with yellow/orange branches.
After passing a lake, we saw a tall obelisk dedicated to the Duke of Cumberland, who led the creation of Windsor Great Park over 200 years ago and who is known as “the butcher of Culloden” because he ordered his soldiers to kill the wounded Scottish soldiers they captured.
We exited Great Windsor Park near the Saville Garden, walking down a narrow lane until we reached a dip in the road that was completely flooded. To avoid this, we scrambled up the steep & slippy bank at the side of the road, which was tricky through the undergrowth.
There followed a more pleasant section through fields and woods. After some road walking, we visited the Air Forces Memorial overlooking Runnymede.
There was then a half mile descent on a rough track before walking along the pavement back to Egham station.
Terry (with thanks to Daphne, Sue H and Tony for additional photos)