Shepperton to Windsor
Saturday, 01 July 2017
This was the first day of our two-day adventure that would see us walk from Shepperton to Bourne End but today our objective was Windsor.
We had booked accommodation at the Travelodge in Winnersh Triangle simply because it was the cheapest we could find but first we had to drive to Windsor, find somewhere to park and catch a train and a bus to get to the start of the walk, Shepperton.
Luckily, I found some free parking at the top of Home Park opposite the tennis courts and it was only a short distance from there to the Riverside Station where we caught the train to Staines. From there we had to walk to the Elmsleigh Bus Station and catch the 458 bus to Shepperton.
We picked up the Thames Path at the Manor Car Park and headed for Shepperton Lock. The sun was shining and the forecast for the weekend was good and we were looking forward to the 14-mile walk to Windsor.
The path and the walking were both easy with pleasant views of the river and the many houses and houseboats that line the banks on both sides and makes the walk more interesting, in our view, than just walking alongside an empty section of the river.
Having rounded Dockett Point we entered Dumsey Meadow which is a lovely tranquil spot that fills the space to Chertsey Bridge and is only slightly ruined by a modern housing development opposite that, although peaceful enough, just looks out of place.
The path leads up and over the 18th century Chertsey Bridge which sits elegantly above the river with its seven arches of white stone and then on to Chertsey Lock and then quickly on to the M3 Motorway Bridge.
I think this was the first time that I had ever been under a motorway bridge and I found it somewhat fascinating and even though the bridge seemed less busy than I had expected it was, as you can imagine, still very noisy both on the approach and underneath it.
Just before we entered the village of Laleham we stopped and rested on a bench located on a grassy spot on the bank of the river and had a coffee and a sandwich. I imagine it was the idyllic river scene that many people associate with the River Thames other than the obvious alternatives of Westminster or Tower Bridge.
After resting, we continued on to Penton Hook Lock and then on to Staines where you cross over the bridge. We stopped here to look at the Town Hall and some refreshments in the George Inn.
Staines is famous for producing Linoleum and the inventor, Frederick Walton, founded the Linoleum Manufacturing Company here.
In the interests of accuracy, I should point out that Staines is in fact now called Staines-upon-Thames after it changed its name in 2012.
Shortly after leaving the Staines bridge we came across a Coal Tax Post, sometimes known as “Coal posts”, “Coal duty posts”, or “City posts” these cast iron posts, painted white and carrying the Arms of the City of London were put here by the Corporation of the City of London under various coal duty Acts to collect tax on coal entering the city. This practice originally started in 1666 to help fund the rebuilding of the City of London after the Great Fire of London.
We continued on and found ourselves walking under a double bridge which consisted of eight lanes of the M25 sandwiched between four lanes of the A380 and made the earlier M3 bridge positively quiet by comparison.
At Bell Weir Lock, and still within earshot of the M25, our attention was diverted to a large mural of the Magna Carta painted on the lock keepers cottage which indicates that you are approaching the Runnymede Section.
The Runnymede section was really busy. There were not too many walkers but the area seemed popular with people in camper-vans or families having picnics next to their cars. This was pretty much the case all the way up to the monument and the large gates of Runnymede House.
Beyond Runnymede, the path was much quieter in spite of closely following the A308 which veers off to the left at Old Windsor while the Thames Path continues behind large houses and along the towpath.
At Old Windsor Lock the path starts to wind its way through fields and then parkland until it reaches Home Park which is where we were parked but we couldn’t resist a quick detour up into the town and a sneaky look at Windsor Castle along with the hundreds of other tourists.
M3 Motorway Bridge
Penton Hook Lock
The Town Hall – Staines
Coal Tax Post
Magna Carta Art
Magna Carta Monument at Runnymede
Old Windsor Lock
Distance : 14 Miles
We parked in Windsor and caught a bus to Shepperton so we could walk back in our on time.