Maidenhead - Cookham - circular

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This walk can start from Boulter's Lock near Maidenhead - though the start point can vary, according to your means of travel – and takes you up the Thames Path beside the river to the delightful village of Cookham. The Thames Path is a National Trail which runs 184 miles from its source in the Cotswolds, almost to the sea.

Boulter's Lock was first built in 1772 and subsequently rebuilt in 1829 and 1912. This area of the river became popular for boating parties in the late 19th Century, especially on the Sunday after Royal Ascot, when the wealthy and famous passed through the lock, often on their way to Cliveden.

Between Boulter's Lock and Cookham the beechwoods rise steeply on the opposite bank and can provide a magnificent sight in November, when the autumn colours are at their best. This is the Cliveden Estate, notorious for the 1960s Profumo Scandal. The National Trust now manages the gardens and woodland and the house is an exclusive hotel, with limited tours available to NT members.

You will pass Spring Cottage, one of the most beautiful cottages on the Thames, described as 'a tall-chimneyed, mock-Tudor pleasure house', which featured in the colourful goings-on in the Profumo affair. Unfortunately, I was not on the invitation list. Read more in Additional Information.

Cookham has a number of pubs, tea shops and restaurants, plus the Stanley Spencer Gallery. I've included a link to the gallery in Additional Info. There is so much going on in Cookham that you are advised to look at the village website to know what to take in, or alternatively, what to avoid. The pubs are listed too.

Let the train take the strain! With this and certain other walks I have specifically included details of how to reach it easily from the nearest railway station.

England - South England - Berkshire - Thames Valley


Birds, Cafe, Food Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Mostly Flat, National Trust, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, River, Stately Home, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife
6/26/2020 - Ken Howard

Lovely walk on a baking hot day (24/6/20) and can recommend a picnic in the churchyard in Cookham which features in Stanley Spencer's 'Resurrection' painting. However, got totally lost at (9) where crossing a wooden bridge led us into a new housing estate. A local pointed us finally towards the common and we found our way home.

6/14/2020 - Martin Veasey

Lovely walk. Couple of suggestions for edits as there have been changes since the walk was first submitted. WP 8. The gravel workings and quarrying seem to be more extensive and the metal fencing is encountered a bit earlier. Suggest wording along the lines of: 'Cross the bridge and keep straight ahead through the next gate. Cross the next field diagonally with the metal fence on your left, heading directly towards the church steeple in the distance. church steeple in the distance. Turn right when the fence does and follow the wide track for 200 metres ...' WP 12. The area is more built up now. Whilst there is only one plausible footpath and the instructions are good, the photo is now out of date: the metal swing gate has been removed and the fencing has been replaced with wooden fence panels on both sides. Might be worth a new photo? Hope this is useful.

6/6/2018 - HELEN WYATT

I did the walk on a summer's evening, and while it's undoubtedly a lovely walk, it were a number of places where I had issues with navigation which I've listed below: WP 2: gates to Formosa Court and the stream were not evident. However, just follow the private road and you will catch up with the route again from the end of WP 3. WP 7: Directions say to turn left by the fingerpost. The path you need to take is actually at about the 10 o'clock position if you stand with the fingerpost to your left (NOT the path directly off to the left down the hedge). There was also no wooden gate between the fields as stated in the directions, and no sign of a bench. WP 8: There are actually two bridges to cross here, and when you head diagonally across the field, you may not actually be able to see the steeple in the summer as the grass is too tall. From this point on, although it's not mentioned in the directions, there are very regular fingerposts directing you to the Green Way East - so if you get confused, just keep following these and this will guide you all the way to WP10. WP 12: the path is not as shown in the picture, it's an alleyway diagonally across from the end of Summerleaze Road.

9/30/2015 - Harley Quilliam

Thanks to Richard Clayton for a very nice little walk. The car park at Boulter's Lock was only sparsely occupied (mid-week) and £1 for parking until 23:59 is very reasonable. There is a nice seat at WP2 for contemplation of the goings-on across the river in black-and-white TV days. Between WP8 and WP9 we were given excellent demonstrations (at close quarters) of how red kites carry out precision reconnaissance of the field in search of food.

3/6/2011 - Michael Diamandis

Great walk, lots to see. Good for kids and very dog friendly. We stopped at Bel and the Dragon pub in Cookham for a quick lunch where they welcomed both our son and dog! (Really very nice place). We will do the walk again in the summer months when I think the views along the Thames will be even nicer.

4/22/2008 - Walkingworld Administrator

This walk was updated April 2008.

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