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London Countryway 06 March 2012

London Countryway 6

Countryway 6   March 17 – 18    2012
We parked at Cookham  on the edge of the Common and then took the taxi to Alexandra Gardens car park in Windsor.  Setting off across the river, with the Castle in the background, we saw the edges of the town before entering the riverside meadow owned by Eton College called Brocas.
We walked along the side of the river, which is very winding at this point, watching loads of rowers practising (Olympics?) and mindful of the Diamond Jubilee benches at frequent intervals. Very organised!
Onwards, past beautiful Boveney Church, now befriended by the Friends of Friendless Churches,and then a diversion away from the River because the area was fenced off for preparations (Olympics!)
Along the river path again, with parakeets flying in the trees,  past and under Brunel’s enormous brick span bridge and under the M4.
Bray with huge, and very varied, houses, on the opposite bank, and with expensive-looking launches  cruising by, notably ‘Princess Elizabeth’ which we saw repeatedly throughout the weekend
Lunch was at Boulter’s Lock near Maidenhead, which was famous for its lunch parties and regattas in Victorian times. We watched to boats enter the lock while we ate our sandwiches.
We just caught glimpses of the National Trust property at Cliveden before we left the riverside and headed inland to Cookham again. Those of us who were cultured (!)  visited the Spencer Gallery where we saw very interesting pictures by Stanley Spencer, before taking over a tea shop for welcome refreshment.
Then  onto Loudwater Premier Inn for our accommodation.
On the Sunday we started off from Cookham again and this time started a climb, as it was the edge of the Chilterns. Panoramic views of the river and the sun came out.!
The upward trend levelled out and we crossed the River into Marlow going past The Compleat Angler Inn , with the neatest tables and chairs you have ever seen, and using  the impressive bridge built by William Tierney Clark in 1832, who was responsible for building  a similar structure in Budapest, which city is twinned with Marlow.
We were now in Buckinghamshire, and straight into the busy shopping centre, and keen traffic wardens!  Past the allotments and climbing again, looking back at the Thames Valley; we continued  past farms and through woods, stables in the distance, before we returned to Cookham.
The weather was very kind to us, despite the forecast, and we had a very good weekend’s walking. Thanks to Chris, as always, for the planning, leadership and admirable execution!